What Causes Data Loss and How to Prevent It
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Data loss is a serious problem for any organization— losing files means losing time and money to recover essential information of your business. When do you lose your data? Either by accidentally deleting it or when something corrupts it. Formatting errors, physical damage, or viruses can render data unreadable by both humans and software. Lost documents and files can make a hole in your company’s financial health.
Some of the lost data can be recovered, but it requires IT professional’s assistance, time, and resources. In some cases, lost information and files are not recoverable, thus makes data loss prevention even more essential. If you are aware of what leads to data loss, then you are taking your business is not at risk.
Read on for the five most common consequences of data loss, how to prevent them, and tricks to recover the lost data:
Also, be sure to check out 10 Points to Include in Your Disaster Recovery Plan.
1. Viruses and Malware
If you ask what is one most common cause for data loss? The majority answer would be viruses. For any organizations, the viruses can delete or steal a good amount of data or bring business operations to a crawl, destroying company functionality. An email-based attack or phishing that tempts an employee to click on a corrupted link leads a virus to enter the computer and damage or steal files.
Guard against malware by installing appropriate anti-virus software. Regularly update your anti-virus systems and run scans to catch viruses before they can do any serious damage. In case of a malicious program that targets your data, ensure that you make regular system backups as well. The only way to restore your lost data from malware or viruses is often from the backed up data.
According to cybersecurity report 2019, around 100,000 groups in at least 150 countries and more than 400,000 machines were infected by the Wannacry virus in 2017, at a total cost of around $4 billion!
2. Power Outages
Power outages can interrupt business operations significantly, shutting down software systems without warning. This not only leads to loss of unsaved data but also cause corrupt existing files due to improper shutdown procedures. A poorly timed power outrage can cause entire programs to render non-functional by a poorly timed power outage. If a computer shuts down while it is writing to the hard drive system, it may never start up again.
It can happen that you might not lose data during a power outage, but the improper shutdowns can have lasting impacts on computer hard drives. Also, if power outages happen frequently, the lifespan of a hard drive will be greatly reduced and is likely to crash.
To avoid such problems, it is better to have a regular, automatic system backup, as they are often the only way to recover lost data from a power outage. Ensure your business uses surge protectors to prevent possible damage from power surges.
A 2017 study revealed that out of 400 IT decision-makers, 46 percent experienced more than four hours of IT-related downtime over 12 months; 23 percent said that they incurred costs ranging from $12,000 up to more than $1 million per hour.
Over 35 percent admitted that they are unsure of the cost of an outage to their business.
3. Software Corruption
Unexpected or improper software shutdowns are yet another threat to your data. These shutdowns can corrupt your data, and result in wasting time and losing valuable data. When software is corrupted it may not be able to run again, which means no access to the data stored in that software.
Software corruption can sometimes be the result of any uncontrollable factors. Thus it is important to implement procedures for properly shutting down software after each use. Be careful before you shut down your system; ensure all the programs are closed. Reduce the risk of business data loss from software corruption by telling your employees to consistently save documents during editing and follow safe shut down procedures.
4. Hard Drive Formatting
Accidental formatting of your hard drive can lead to instant data loss. Mistakes happen! Sometimes employees misunderstand system prompts or error messages and format the hard drive by mistake, and as a result, valuable data is lost. Reformatting can occur during system updates too. Accidental reformatting of hard drive does result in loss of files and documents, but you can recover the same, just by running a data recovery software.
This would be the last thing you would expect! Electronic devices like laptop, smartphones, and other portable devices like a USB thumb drive or external hard drive are a top prize for burglars. While it is disheartening to learn that your laptop or any one of the gadgets has been stolen. It is an even bigger tragedy when you think of all the possible data that can be compromised. Even if you store your data online, when your laptop/ computer falls into the wrong hands, it becomes easier for criminals to access your accounts. Losing your computer is, of course, agonizing, but make it less painful by keeping your data secure storage and using a proper strategy for data backup.
A proactive approach by backing up all your valuable data, preventing it against malware can entirely prevent the above-discussed causes for data loss. Accidents are bound to happen, but developing a sound strategy before time will definitely help you to avoid the data loss.
This post was written by Renju Thampy