Data loss is always a concern for businesses, and now with cloud storage, there’s more of a concern than ever before. “It can’t/won’t happen to me” attitudes among small businesses often end in disaster, costing their owners a pretty penny.
Reduced profits, lost productivity and damage to your business’s reputation are just a few things that can result from loss of data – and these are the best-case scenarios. Small businesses can’t afford to lose data. Almost 60% of small businesses go under within six months of a major data loss.
The good news is that a majority of small businesses already back up their data, whether it’s locally, on the cloud, or both. To prevent a catastrophic loss of data, it’s important that you follow some simple guidelines to preserve your data. For starters, backup your data on a daily basis, or at least a few times a week. You also need to put a Business Continuity Plan in place.
A Business Continuity Plan is a process you use to respond to any catastrophic loss of data. It’s a documented and clear set of plans detailing how to recover this data. The Plan should include step-by-step instructions on how to recover from a loss and get your network up and running as quickly as possible. It prevents a major loss of productivity and revenue and gets your people back to work.
Your Business Continuity Plan should be monitored by a Managed Service Provider. They are specially qualified to handle data recovery and get your business back up and running after an IT disaster. They will also analyze your unique situation and show you the best way to safeguard your data. Plus, in the event of a catastrophe, they can help you recover your data.
How is data lost? There are a few main causes for this, including:
- Hackers – In most cases, data loss results from poor cyber security. Without the right preventative measures in place, hackers can infect your system with ransomware, and compromise all of your files. Ransomware is one of today’s biggest threats to your data. The hacker gets in, takes over your files, and demands a ransom to release them.
- Human Error – Backing up files, moving files and deleting old files is something that we do every day. It’s inevitable that you’ll accidentally delete files or backup an outdated version. Human error happens— You must have a plan in place for recovery when this happens.
- Software Failure – We’ve all been there. You have a dozen programs running at once as you try to accomplish a dozen tasks. When working in one of these programs, your computer gets sluggish and then crashes. Now, all that data is gone because you didn’t save or back it up before the crash. Similarly, if you use outdated software you’re asking for problems. Don’t fall victim to this. Keep software up to date and don’t over-task your hardware.
- Hardware Failure – Hard drives fail all the time – 140,000 fail every day. Some just get worn out, but others fail due to extenuating circumstances such as:
- Water Damage
- Fire Damage
- Power Surges
- Being Dropped
- Cyber Viruses and Malware – Viruses and malware are a real threat in today’s ever-connected world. The Internet has immense value and you’re probably connected to it all the time. However, this also leaves you open to computer viruses that corrupt your network, and hackers who want to steal or hijack your data.
- Power Failure – Loss of power to your system might seem like a remote risk, but that’s not always the case. A power failure on your computer can result in lost data, or even worse, hard drive failure.
- Natural Disasters (hurricane, tornado, etc.) – A tornado doesn’t care how long it took you to back up your data, or that you didn’t backup at all. A server room could flood, or a main work area could suddenly cave in and be swept away. If you live in an area that’s prone to natural disasters, you should already be backing up your data.
The best way to protect your data from hackers and other risks is to have a reliable recovery solution in place that’s designed by an IT professional. The biggest threat to your data and your business is not being prepared. Get together with your Managed Service Provider (MSP), and develop a Business Continuity Plan that works for your particular business.