Business Data Loss: Common Causes, Biggest Consequences, and Prevention Measures

Author

Kevin Urrutia

Categories

Business, Digital Marketing

Posted

July 10, 2024

Small businesses, as large corporations, rely heavily on technology when managing company operations and storing documents. However, while very developed, technology is still not to be trusted completely when it comes to keeping data safe and secure. Something as seemingly insignificant as an employee opening an infected mail, or something more serious, such as a hacker attack or a natural disaster, can cause data loss and downtime and provoke significant 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 suffers a data loss are out of business within a year. On the other hand, 96% of companies with a trusted recovery strategy could 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?

Source: freepik.com

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Data loss happens for various reasons, and each presents a different challenge for data recovery. You should know about some of the most common causes of business data loss. Awareness of the cause and the associated risks can be essential for discovering the recovery measures and implementing future preventive measures.

  • Human error: You and your employees can make an unintentional mistake that will result in data deletion or overwriting of essential 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 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 delete unsaved data and damage the hard drive.
  • Device theft: While it is not common for the company premises to be mugged (especially if you have good security in place), many employees use their 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, and yogurt on the computer or dropping the laptop on the floor can cause damage to the data stored inside.
  • Disasters: In the case of disasters, data breaches are the last thing one would think about, but you have to remember 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.
  • The 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 significant setback regarding productivity, deadlines, and customers’ trust.

Source: freepik.com

To put all this in a number: 70% of small businesses fail within a year after 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 increasingly popular for storing your backups by the day.

Speaking of new things in the digital realm, apps designed to protect one’s privacy can be handy for business. For example, Hidden allows you to remotely access your data and delete it in the case of theft. It even has an option of secretly photographing the culprits to make identification easier. Android also has similar software options for encryption, remote access, and finding the device.

As a company manager, one of the crucial things to have in mind 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 to keep your data as safe as possible are installing and maintaining anti-virus software, partitioning a hard drive, and performing disk defragmentation.

Source: freepik.com

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 simple yet effective preventive steps.

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