What is Data Loss? What Causes Data Loss? What Can You Do?
Wikipedia defines data loss is an error condition in information systems in which information is destroyed by failures or neglect in storage, transmission, or processing.
Data loss is distinguished from data unavailability, which may arise from a network outage. Although the two have substantially similar consequences for users, data unavailability is temporary, while data loss may be permanent.
Data loss often spells the end for many small/medium businesses. Statistics show that following a major data loss, 43% of business never reopen, 51% close in 2yrs, and only 6% survive.
According to studies, human error and hardware failure are the two most common causes with 44% of incidents resulting in data loss. Other causes include software failure, cyber-attacks, viruses, and natural disasters.
Many of these are outside of your control… so what can you do?
- Identify assets critical to your business, vulnerabilities, and threats. A regular security risk analysis, vulnerability scan, and penetration testing can help you identify areas of risk.
- Implement appropriate safeguards. These safeguards might include a firewall, multi-factor authentication, email security, and endpoint detection/response (EDR) to protect your critical business data and detect potential threats.
- Subscribe to proactive monitoring and routine maintenance of your systems. Having “eyes” on your systems 24/7 and routine maintenance can often prevent a business impacting event.
- Implement a Backup/Disaster Recovery Solution (BDR). BDR marries data backup and disaster recovery to ensure maximum uptime and business continuity. BDR solutions provide a continuous backup of your systems and provide rapid data restoration in the event of a disaster. Don’t forget to test your BDR solution regularly. Many businesses invest in BDR solutions but never test them.
- Continually educate your end-users and implement policies and procedures to hold them accountable. Remember… one of the most common causes of data loss is human error. Clicking the wrong link, accidentally deleting files, or opening the wrong email can cause major issues resulting in downtime or permanent data loss.