A decade ago, it was still common practice to store and move data via an external device (a CD, USB Flash Drive, etc.). Before then, floppy disks were the norm. However, with the introduction of cloud storage solutions and the ease of transferring data and information via the internet, storing and sending data has never been easier. Whether you choose to store your information on a hard drive, external storage device, or within the cloud, important considerations must be made regarding security and safety.
One aspect of protecting your data involves backing that data up, and doing so regularly. Data backups are a proactive step to ensure that if your data is breached or lost for any reason, you are covered.
Potential Causes of Data Loss
When data or information is destroyed or deleted, it is referred to as data loss. There are several ways for data loss to occur – some intentional and others by accident. Either way, the impact of data loss on operations is often significant. The most common causes of data loss include:
The reliability of both hardware and software has significantly improved with technological advances over the past few decades. However, issues still arise that potentially can lead to data loss. Software applications can fail or crash before data is saved or updated. Also, hardware components such as hard drives can undergo damage or mechanical issues. These malfunctions can stem from a variety of causes, including water leaks and damage during transport. No matter the reason, device and software failures are a huge cause of data loss for businesses.
Unlike a piece of equipment or software, humans don’t run off a programmed code. Thus, errors in judgment or simple mistakes happen. Accidentally deleting data (or forgetting to save or backup) is commonplace. Other mistakes lead to hardware damage, such as improperly transporting equipment, spilling liquids on it, or improperly connecting devices. While many instances of human error are preventable with proper training and procedures designed to prevent it, it is an inevitable part of any business that, at some point, data will be lost due to operator error.
External Malicious Attacks:
Possibly the most common reason for data loss comes from external attacks, some targeted and some random. Theft or intentional damage of hardware is one possibility. Not only are pieces of hardware often expensive, but the data stored on these devices can also be even more valuable and worse to lose. Other external attacks come from cyber attacks, including malware and ransomware. These programs infiltrate and often damage a piece of technology. Some succeed in stealing data from its source, while others cause functionality issues. There are even types of malware that transfer control of a device (and the data it holds) to a third party.
Natural Disaster/Electricity Issues:
Florida residents are no stranger to severe storms and hurricane seasons. Natural disasters are another common cause of data loss for business owners – for a couple of reasons. Storms often cause power outages or electrical surges. These events can lead to damaged hardware or electrical outlets. They can also result in fire, further increasing the risk of information loss. When lightning strikes, millions of volts of electricity hit the earth, and any surge or power outage it causes can critically affect equipment and the data it holds. Electricity issues also arise due to other causes, such as simple grid faults. Especially for hardware that needs constant electricity to function, these also threaten data if businesses aren’t adequately prepared.
Implications of Data Loss
The effects of data loss for a business can be significant, especially in instances where backups are unavailable or not up-to-date. Often, data loss leads to at least some impact on operations. Data drives all decisions made – in areas such as production, finance, and human resources. So, losing data can affect several different business functions.
Additionally, data loss can affect a business’ customers or clients whose information is also stored in-house. Not only can this impact these customers immediately, but it is also a great way to lessen your customers’ (and the general public’s) view of the organization. A damaged reputation may even cause more significant damage than the actual data loss.
Data Backups - Critical for Smooth Business Operations
No matter the cause of data loss, recovering quickly is something all business owners hope to achieve. In order to lessen (or eliminate) the impact of data loss, regular data backups are strongly recommended. A data backup creates a duplicate version of a data set, storing it in an alternate location than the original. This may refer to another physical location, such as another server in a different location. Or, it can simply mean backing up information to a cloud storage solution. Either way, if data is backed up (and done so regularly), if it is lost for any reason, there should be a replica of that data a business can pull from to resume operations.
At Kustura Technologies, we offer several services to ensure your business is set up for success regarding IT. One of these services is our Disaster Recovery Plans, which protect businesses in the instance of partial or complete data loss. The plans cover secure backups to our privately owned data center, assistance with electrical damage, and data recovery support. Failing to plan for data loss and take proactive measures to prevent and/or lessen its impact is a critical step for all business owners. We’d love to help give you peace of mind, knowing that your data is protected in times of loss. Contact us today to discuss your needs!
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