5 Top causes of data loss

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Data loss could be a death knell for businesses that are wholly unprepared for it. To prevent this danger, you must first understand what causes it so your organization can implement safeguards and mitigation strategies. Let’s take a look at the top five causes of data loss in businesses and some mitigation strategies to stop them from ruining your company.

1. Human error

Employees might accidentally delete critical files, incorrectly reformat drives, or drop the ball when it comes to cybersecurity and open the door to a cyberattack. Human error is frustratingly common and ubiquitous, but it’s fortunately the easiest and cheapest to fix.

How to mitigate human error

  • Training: Regular data security awareness training sessions can significantly reduce the risks associated with human error. Educating employees on the importance of vigilance, proper data handling, and how to spot and prevent social engineering attacks (such as phishing) are good topics to start with, but conducting regular training sessions is vital to keep knowledge up to date. 
  • Strict access controls: Role-based access controls limit the data accessible to any one employee, minimizing the risk of accidental, or even intentional, data loss.
  • Regular activity audits: Conducting regular audits of data access logs and changes can give you a better idea of how your teams are handling and utilizing data, illuminating issues before they lead to data loss.

2. Ransomware and other malware attacks

Malware of all kinds, including ransomware, are becoming more sophisticated and harder to detect. These malicious software programs can lock access to, steal, or completely wipe out your business data.

How to prevent malware from causing data loss

  • Multilayered defenses: Don’t just install an antivirus program and call it a day. Protecting your business data from all the different kinds of threats requires multiple sophisticated tools working in unison. Enlist the assistance of cybersecurity professionals like SpectrumWise if necessary.
  • Regular backups: Maintain regular, encrypted backups of critical data in multiple locations. This ensures that in the event of a ransomware attack, your business can restore its data with minimal loss.

3. Catastrophic hardware failure

Hardware failures are a common cause of data loss. From hard drive crashes to server failures, hardware issues can lead to significant data loss if you don’t properly prepare and account for it.

How to prevent damage caused by hardware failures

  • Regular maintenance: Ensure your IT services provider conducts regular maintenance and monitoring of hardware to extend the lifespan of your devices and detect early signs of failure.
  • Diversify storage mediums: Utilize a mix of on-premises and cloud storage solutions to ensure data redundancy. Cloud storage provides safety and redundancy, while on-premises solutions have faster data recovery speeds and allow for better control.

4. Software corruption

Software corruption covers a variety of issues, including bugs, incompatibilities, or improper shutdowns. Recurring software issues can lead to corrupted files and, in extreme cases, total loss of a server or database.

How to prevent software corruption

  • Regular updates: Keep all software, especially critical applications and operating systems, updated to their current patch versions to reduce the risk of bugs and incompatibilities.
  • Frequent data validation: Regularly check the integrity of your data, especially after software updates or large migrations, to make sure data remains intact.

5. Natural disasters

No matter how sophisticated your data drives and digital software are, Mother Nature can still throw a monkey wrench into your plans. Natural disasters, such as floods, fires, earthquakes, or hurricanes, are rare but no less devastating causes of data loss.

How to mitigate damage from natural disasters

  • Off-site backups: Keep up-to-date backups in geographically diverse locations to protect against data loss from localized natural disasters.
  • Disaster recovery plan: Develop and regularly update a comprehensive disaster recovery plan that includes steps for data recovery in the event of a natural disaster.

Cover all the angles

Data loss is a devastating event for businesses of all shapes and sizes. If you don’t have the tools and/or expertise to prevent all of its most common causes, then it’s time to bring in outside help. SpectrumWise has over two decades of experience helping North Carolina businesses protect their vital data. Contact us and we’ll show you how streamlined and cost-effective solutions can prevent catastrophic data loss from threatening your company.


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