Data loss provides huge setbacks for any size of business. We work primarily with London based businesses, but it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, if you lose the files that structure your business and its product, you’re going to lose a great deal of time and money.
It doesn’t matter which of the myriad types of data loss that occur, the upshot is that those files are gone, and your business operation is going to struggle without them.
Thankfully, some of your lost data is recoverable. You’re going to need an IT specialist for the task, which is going to cost additional time and money, and again, impacting your company’s financial health.
Prevention is better than a cure. Always. It may well be an old wives’ tale, but it stands tall in just about every area of mistake, mishap, hack and crash—in life and in business.
You’ll find the golden phrase throughout this article is BACK UP. Locally and remotely. Automatic and often.
And, that begs another question: how to prevent data loss in cloud computing? There are all sorts of technical standards available in that area. Classifying data, avoiding misconfiguration, evading incorrect web-request routing, troubleshooting bugs, implementing granularity, and more. If you need specialist advice in this area, give us a call or drop us a line; we’d be more than happy to advise.
So. What causes data loss?
The common causes of data loss
Data Loss because of hard drive damage
Masses of our data losses are due to hardware malfunctions—the biggest culprit being your hard drive.
Mechanical issues are responsible for 60% of hard drive crashes, yet a whopping 40% is from human misuse. Just look at how something as simple as a little extra care could prevent almost half of your hard drive data loss.
So, apart from urging your staff not to drop their laptops, spill their coffee on them and keep them clean and dust-free, what else should you be doing?
Solid-state drives (SSDs) have no moving parts so, quite simply, there’s less to go wrong with them. They’re a little more expensive, admittedly, but a lot more reliable. We’d suggest the added cost is well worth the reward.
Again, the golden rule is BACK UP. Even if your local drive fails you, your data and files will still be available.
Hackers and hacking
Ok, this is a big one, and your cyber security is essential. Hacking is commonplace, so data protection is imperative in today’s business and regulations.
Hackers will find the flaws in your system to gain access, so fix them. Now.
- Secure your servers
- Put firewalls in place
- Utilise complex passwords
- Arrange for a professional system security assessment
- Introduce file and server permissions for different levels of staff
Sadly, a lot of data breaches aren’t recoverable, and many happen within the business by employees and staff. Put proper protection in place at every juncture.
Data loss because of viruses and malware
Viruses are one of the first things that jump to mind when you mention data loss.
They’re both common everyday nuisances that remove, steal or delete vast selections of your data in an instant. They land in your system through phishing, email attacks, or when clicking on any hack-based URL that provides access to your system.
Every computer should be protected using malware and anti-virus software. There isn’t a single reason not to. Simple and affordable, it’s the first step to protecting your machines from preventable breaches and subsequent losses.
Computer, laptop, tablet and mobile theft
We are a society that’s embracing working on the fly; and wherever we go, our data must follow.
Working from a laptop, or even on your mobile, puts your data at risk. Did you know that around a quarter of IT theft occurs in cars and transport vehicles? Another quarter takes place in the office itself, and around another quarter in hotels, airports and restaurants.
Prevention? Take better care of your hardware. Treat them in the same way you’d treat your kids. Don’t let them out of your sight. Hold their hand (figuratively, of course). And in the office? Use security cables and locks. Secure your building and offices. Alarm your building. Install anti-theft software on all of your machines and a remote wipe for those holding the most valuable data.
Data loss because of Human error
This is a big problem, and it’s a tough one to fix. Humans aren’t as simple to update as software or hardware is, after all.
Education and good practice will go some distance to making your team of humans more efficient; reducing potential chances of human error—but that’s up to you and them.
Fortunately, it’s a simpler case to manage those problems and recover your data—using the IT tools and systems built for the job.
Of course, we recommend training in data management and handling. We also recommend backup tools, both locally and in the cloud. Sometimes, recovering that batch of accidentally deleted files is as simple as digging back a few days through your history.
File recovery and scanning software is a worthy consideration. They can often produce lost files and data that a human search can’t.
A power outage doesn’t just interrupt your business operation; shutting down systems without warning can also result in a loss of data. It can easily corrupt files, and in some cases, prevent hard drives from ever starting up again.
Power outages and surges can have a real impact on hardware, even if you don’t suffer any immediate or obvious data loss. Solutions? Well, a backup generator is one method, but that’s not always practical or feasible.
Did we mention backups?
Data loss because of Natural and not so natural disasters
It’s somewhat of a long shot, so not a high entry in our top ten, but they do happen. A tornado or tsunami isn’t likely in the centre of London, but fires are. And terrorist attacks are sadly a cause for concern in our current climate.
So, that backup we talked about, take precautions to have them in the cloud or other remote location as well as in your office.
Data loss because of Liquid damage
Ok, it might not always be coffee (but I bet you 90% of it is!), but mixing liquids with sensitive electronic equipment is never going to end well.
It’s insensitive to prevent your staff from basic rights of hydration (and caffeine!) while working, so what can you do? Have you thought of water-resistant laptop and keyboard cases? Spill-proof drinks containers?
When an accident does occur, minimise the damage by shutting down the machine ASAP. It needs time to dry out; and where you can, have an IT expert take it apart to inspect the internal damage or effects.
Major consequences of business data loss
Some of the most significant impacts on businesses due to the loss of data are:
- Disruption into practice and reduced productivity
- Damage to the business reputation
- Unwanted exposure of confidential materials and business operations
- Loss of consumer confidence and customer loyalty
- Total shutdown and business failure
You can’t prevent all data losses from happening, but you can protect yourself and give yourself the best chance of avoiding some pretty nasty pitfalls.
Some of our suggestions are the simplest solutions every one of us should already be practicing. And the others? Well, some of the other action requires a little more specialist attention.
If you’re concerned with data loss and you need a helping hand to keep your business safe—we’re happy to help.