Small businesses, just as large corporations rely heavily on technology when it comes to managing company operations and storing the documents. However, while very developed, technology is still not to be trusted completely when it comes to keeping the data safe and secure. Something as seemingly insignificant, as an employee opening an infected mail, or something more serious, as a hacker attack or a natural disaster, can cause data loss and downtime, and provoke major financial losses.
Even if these are known facts in the business realm, as much as 75% of small businesses do not have a disaster recovery plan. What makes this number even more ominous is the evidence that more than 90% of companies without a recovery plan that suffer a data loss are out of business within a year. On the other hand, 96% of businesses with a trusted recovery strategy were able to survive data losses.
To prevent you from becoming a part of this grim statistic, here is an overview of the common causes, consequences, and preventive measures for business data loss.
Why do we lose data?
Data loss happens for various reasons, and each of them presents a different challenge for data recovery. Being aware of the cause, and the risks associated with it can be essential for discovering the recovery measures and implementing future preventive measures. Here are some of the most common causes of business data loss you should know about.
- Human error: Your employees and you yourself can make an unintentional mistake which will result in the deletion of data or overwriting important files. Proper training and accent on focus and productivity are your best shields from this.
- Hard drive failures: Hard drive damages cause 45% or more of the total unplanned downtime in businesses. Hard drives are fragile and they wear out quickly, so keep your eyes open for a new catch.
- Viruses and malware: These two pests are among the most common causes of data loss, but they are both prevented with proper anti-virus software and backups.
- Power outages: While frequent power outages are often associated with certain undeveloped regions, they can happen anytime, anywhere. The shutdowns can not only delete unsaved data, but they can also inflict damage to the hard drive.
- Device theft: While it is not that common for the company premises to be mugged (especially if you have good security in place), many employees use their own laptops, tablets, and phones (or carry the company’s devices with them) outside the office. This way they are exposed to theft and loss.
- Physical damage: Spilling coffee, water, yogurt on the computer or dropping the laptop on the floor can cause damage to data stored inside.
- Disasters: In the case of disasters, data breaches are the last thing one would think about, but you have to keep in mind that fires, floods, hurricanes, and similar can destroy computers and information within them.
- Software corruption: Improper and unexpected software shutdowns can corrupt and delete data.
- Intentional human factor: Hackers and people within your company who do not have pure intentions can steal and delete your data, leaving you with irreparable damage.
What happens when we lose data?
Is data loss as bad as it sounds? No. It is even worse. Depending on what is lost, when it is lost, and do you have a recovery plan, a data breach can even force you to shut down your operations. The circumstances of the loss are crucial. If you have, for example, lost unsaved documents during a power outage, this shouldn’t have an immense impact on your operations. On the other hand, if a hacker has your data and is willing to sell it to the highest bidder, your competitors can finally put a lock on your door. Data loss is also a big setback when it comes to productivity, deadlines, and customers’ trust.
To put all of this in a number: 70% of small businesses fail within a single year of a massive data loss incident.
How can we prevent data loss?
The oldest and the wisest way to protect your data from getting lost is to back up all the documents and files in several copies and store them in different places. Cloud storage is becoming an increasingly popular option for storing your backups by the day.
Speaking of somewhat new things in the digital realm, apps designed to protect one’s privacy can be particularly useful for business. For example, Hidden, allows you to remotely access your data and delete it, in the case of theft, and it even has an option of secretly photographing the culprits, to make the identification easier. Android also has similar software options for encryption, remote access, and finding the device.
One of the crucial things to have in mind, as a company manager, is that you have to implement strict politics regarding the use of the firm’s assets, the authentication process, and the storage and management of business data.
Other steps you can take to keep your data safe, as much as it is possible, are installing and maintaining anti-virus software, partitioning a hard drive, and performing disk defragmentation.
Finally, having a disaster recovery plan is one of the essential components of a responsible way of doing business. But don’t worry, with adequate planning, protection, and preparation, you can minimize the chances of ever having to use this plan. Backing up and securing your data, installing anti-virus software, and obtaining all the necessary software options, are all simple, yet effective preventive steps you can take.