The loss of data – whether a result of human error, technological failure, or a cyberattack – is one of the greatest threats to organizations and individuals today. In our increasingly digitized world, we rely on our data to be stored securely and safely, from our collection of family photos and videos to customer databases and business information. For businesses, the consequences can be economically dire. In fact, for a company that cannot recover lost or corrupted data, especially of the business-critical kind, it can be a matter of survival.
Even though data loss can cause both reputational harm and financial damage, many businesses are unaware of the most common ways in which data are lost. Today, March 31st, is World Backup Day, here to remind you just how easy it is to lose data, and similarly, how a few simple basic steps can help ensure your organization is protected.
Just days ago, MySpace announced it had lost almost 12 years’ worth of data, including almost 50 million songs from 14 million contributors. This case, caused by technical error during a server migration, follows a host of other cases when organizations lost important data due to their own system failures. Data loss due to technical, server, or human error is alarmingly common, and companies of all sizes are often not adequately protected. Needless to say, many high-profile organizations have, in recent years, been the target of sinister data breaches and attacks that impacted their data as well.
Meanwhile, Computer Weekly reported in late 2018 that almost half (46%) of all businesses say they have suffered data losses in the past 12 months because their data center provider has let them down. Other common data loss causes include human error, network glitches, and inadequate system maintenance – in fact, human error is the leading cause of data loss for businesses. Given this information, it is imperative that, in the digital age, businesses make data backup and protection — as well as preparations for any imaginable adverse turn of events — their priorities.
Educating employees on the potential consequences of data loss is vital, as is providing them with basic IT and cybersecurity training. Ensuring that employees know how to safely edit, move, or delete files on or between servers can save businesses from a much larger hassle later down the track. The same goes for ensuring that they only have access to files and folders relevant to them, reducing the odds of accidental deletions of data.
Organizations in particular can benefit from automated backups. Requiring employees to physically back up data is time consuming and unreliable. With an automated system in place, businesses can ensure that their data is consistently being backed up, which can reduce the likelihood of a data disaster induced by human error. Of course, the backup and recovery systems need to be tested, too.
Also, in order to further tighten the security of your data, operating systems and software need to be kept updated to address security vulnerabilities. In enterprise settings, this is usually more complicated than it sounds. That said, keeping systems and applications current, especially with the latest security patches, will reduce the number of openings through which attackers can get in and cause havoc to your data. Organizations also need to educate their employees about cyberattacks that employ social engineering tactics, as many incursions continue to prey on human error.
Meanwhile, the importance of backups and patching for a solid cybersecurity posture defenses was also noted in our recent white paper on ransomware. The paper also makes it clear that ransomware, or malicious software cybercriminals use to hold your computer or files for ransom, remains a constant threat for organizations of all sizes. That, of course, is not the only reason why a mature IT security program is incomplete without dedicated security software that deploys multiple layers of defense against various kinds of cyberthreats.
Small or large, all organizations benefit from increased data protection. This World Backup Day; take a few moments to ensure that your data is secure and backed up. If you were to lose all your data today, could you recover it tomorrow? If not, it’s time to back it up.
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