5 Ways to Prevent a Catastrophic Data Loss in Your Business

Posted by on August 29, 2013 in Business Technology [ 2 Comments ]

data loss preventionWhen it comes to your business, data can be your most precious asset. Think of the catastrophe that would follow a sudden hardware failure that caused a massive loss of data or a theft that resulted in your customers’ data landing in unknown hands. Under these worst-case scenarios, such losses could be devastating to even the strongest of businesses. Having your company’s data vanish before your eyes without a backup plan in place can cost you more than just a contract or a client. Data breaches cost companies an average of $214 per compromised record, a 2010 study by Symantec and the Ponemon Institute found, and the average organizational cost was approximately $7.2 million. Big Data can cause a big problem if you aren’t prepared for loss incidents.

Related: A Smarter Small Business: Think About IT

Anatomy of Data Loss

The phrase “catastrophic data loss” is something no IT manager or C-level executive wants to hear. Nevertheless, it’s something that could happen to almost any company. According to Unitrends, 40% of data loss incidents stem from hardware failure, while 29% of incidents were blamed on human error. Software corruption, theft, computer viruses and hardware destruction made up 13%, 9%, 6% and 3% of incidents, respectively. Here’s some food for thought: 94% of companies that suffer from catastrophic data loss wind up closing their doors for good, Unitrends found (Tweet this!). 51% of those businesses shut their doors within two years of the loss, and 43% of those businesses never reopen.

Related: Find a cloud computing provider that can help you prevent data loss.

Best Practices to Avoid Data Loss

The potential for catastrophic data loss requires aggressive, yet practical, solutions that effectively address the challenges faced in the IT environment. Here are a few ideas for businesses to consider, even those that are on a budget:

  • Off-site backup – It’s one of the more obvious solutions for ensuring business continuity in the event of data loss. Instead of relying on SAN (Storage Area Network) or NAS (Network-attached Storage) storage devices, free online storage and similar off-site options offer a faster and more reliable method of storing and retrieving data.
  • Relief from human error – Automation and retention provide excellent defenses against problems caused by human error and brighten data recovery prospects, even in the event that the data loss isn’t noticed for some time.
  • Stricter access policies – It’s not just stronger passwords that help prevent catastrophic data losses through nefarious means. Automation and retention policies can also help data theft. Such actions are often committed by disgruntled employees or ex-employees with some residual access or clearance.
  • Vigorous use of anti-virus – Just as with the average home PC, anti-virus measures are equally important in critical business applications, especially those that interact with the cloud on a regular basis. Without proper anti-virus tools in place, computer viruses can easily infiltrate and wreak havoc on your servers and backup servers.
  • BYOD security and continuity – Mobile devices are at great risk of being compromised by outside and internal threats, especially those introduced through BYOD. Implement common-sense policies on device usage, and use mobile device management software to help prevent data loss via mobile devices.

Related: How to Build a Robust BYOD Policy

Take the proper precautions in the fight against catastrophic data loss, and it can help save your company years of grief over the coming years. With the above best practices, you can prevent a nasty IT catastrophe before it starts.

About the Author: Peter Trapasso is a self-taught social media and wine expert. In addition to PeterTrapasso.com which is listed on Alltop Social Media, he also writes for VinoPete.com, LeadersWest.com, and SocialMediaLedger.com. As part of a 14+ year corporate career in technology he worked for Fortune 500 and startup companies.

2 thoughts on “5 Ways to Prevent a Catastrophic Data Loss in Your Business

  1. avatarJenn

    Thanks Peter.

    When thinking about backup and disaster recovery solutions, something else folks need to think about is the fact that point products solve point problems.

    A vendor who offers point products is much like the proverbial person with a hammer to whom everything looks like a nail. Point backup products tend to force their users to accommodate both their IT infrastructure as well as their operational responsibilities to the point product itself. That simply isn’t practical when the growth in the amount of data and the number of physical and virtual servers far outpaces the growth in IT staffing.

    IT departments rarely rely on a single type of infrastructure – most environments are a combination of physical, virtual, and cloud. The reason for this is technology is continually evolving – so locking into a single type of infrastructure causes not just issues in the present but more importantly doesn’t allow IT departments to take advantage of future technology trends.

    J. Sipala
    Twitter: @BackupGal

  2. avatarTom Dugan

    Good article … the one thing that I have always seen is that people/companies stop at the “backup” task. Backup is nice but the only reason you backup is to “recover” … so getting data off-site is good but often not enough. You also want to be able to recover the data (or in a disaster, the entire environment) quickly. Also, you make a VERY good point about BYOD – we see so many companies who don’t think about information that is sitting on devices – that’s more of a “security” issue than a “backup/recovery” issue since most data is synched with a backend server (e.g. MS Exchange).

    Good article all around – if companies would adopt these 5 SIMPLE Ways to Prevent Data Loss! 😉

    Tom Dugan

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