Data losses or breaches can happen to anyone at any time. A catastrophic data loss can disrupt productivity, cause reputational damage and expose critical data to potentially nefarious people. Whether your data is lost due to theft, human error, or even Mother Nature, you need a backup strategy to minimize the impact of a data breach or loss.
Why is it important to back up company data?
Data backups are crucial because every organization — big or small — needs a secure archive of its most critical business data. That way, you can recover data and resume operations with minimal impact on employees and customers.
Here are some harrowing statistics: nearly 40% of businesses that suffer a data breach will lose 20% of their revenues as a result. Almost a quarter of companies that experience a significant data loss will also lose customers.
A data loss can impact your employees’ ability to serve customers and deliver products. It can also shut down operations for a significant amount of time, affecting your entire company and your hard-earned reputation. Unless you have a trusted data backup and disaster recovery plan in place, hiring information technology (IT) professionals to restore lost data can be a considerable and costly task.
10 ways companies lose data
Unfortunately, most companies experience data loss at one time or another, especially if they don’t have a backup and recovery solution in place. Below are some common ways that sensitive data is compromised or lost within organizations.
1. Human error
Employees make mistakes, and some mistakes are more challenging to fix than others. Your workers might unintentionally delete data or files that are essential to your business. They may also accidentally download malware that leads to software corruption, take the information home on their mobile devices, or even fry a computer by spilling a cup of coffee. Even if you have policies in place that require your employees to perform incremental backups of their work, they might forget to do it or end up losing the backup device and all the data along with it.
2. Hard drive crashes
Many companies rely on external and internal hardware like hard drives as their backup storage solution. Unfortunately, hard drives are the most fragile part of your computer. Mechanical issues, mishandling, or overheating because of dust build-up can destroy your hard drive and cause data loss.
Employees are becoming more mobile and often work or travel off-site, taking their computers with them. A laptop can easily be lost during a flight or stolen from a vehicle. Unless you’ve been using cloud backup services to keep your information backed up, the data on the lost device will disappear with it.
4. Corrupted software
Software shutdowns happen to everyone, but they can also wreak havoc on your system. Your data can become corrupted and the system can become stuck in a loop, unable to run again. When this happens, you can lose access to your data.
Whether you own a large enterprise or a small or medium-sized business, your data center could be targeted by hackers. Hackers can steal, delete, or hold your data for ransom once they access your system.
6. Viruses and malware
All devices with internet connections are vulnerable to viruses and cyber-attacks. Viruses and malware can result from an email-based attack, phishing attempts on employees, or hackers. Once a virus is in a system, it can damage or steal files.
7. Power outages
Brownouts, sudden power outages, and other disruptions can shut down computers without warning. As a result of an improper shutdown, files and hard drives can become corrupted or rendered non-functional, meaning you could lose access to your data.
8. Spills and leaks
Water damage can wreak havoc on your computers — whether an employee spills a cup of coffee or a faulty air conditioner pours water on a desktop over the weekend. Unless you’re using a backup solution, water damage can lead to trouble.
9. Natural disasters
No one can foresee a natural disaster. A fire, flood, or earthquake can wipe your entire data center or backup system in a literal flash. As a result, you may lose access to all of your data.
Employees might incorrectly format an entire hard drive, erasing all the data. Data recovery should always be part of your data backup strategy so that you can recover and access the information that was wiped by formatting.
Backup critical company data
By now, you’ll have realized that you need a data backup plan in place to store data and recover information in the event of a breach or loss. But how and where should you store your data?
Anything that you don’t want to lose should be stored. For most companies, it includes the following items.
You should keep personnel records, like payroll, tax information, and pension plans securely and readily available.
Administrative information includes sales, inventory, marketing, and critical business information like insurance policies, leases, patents, contracts, and sales lists.
Accounting and financial records should be included in your regular backups. The economic data stored by your company must be protected per data protection compliance regulations.
You don’t want your customer data to fall into the wrong hands. Data breaches lead to reputational damage and legal consequences, which is why you have to protect this data at all costs.
Let’s look at the backup solution and disaster recovery measures your business can take.
Local vs. cloud backups — what’s best for company data?
Most companies choose between a cloud or a local backup when picking a backup solution.
The ideal backup solution satisfies what’s known as the “3-2-1 backup rule”: you need 3 total copies of your data, on two different mediums, with one off-site.
Cloud backup involves copying data to an off-site server hosted by a cloud service provider. This is often achieved automatically, and many business owners appreciate this “set it and forget it” data security. Cloud backups work nicely within the 3-2-1 backup principle, as having a copy of your data stored on the cloud is by definition on another medium and off-site.
Local backup is a disk-based, network-attached backup. Software copies data to hardware, like the tape backup process that was very common in the early 2000s.
Both methods have advantages and disadvantages. Cloud-based backups have low entry costs, and information is accessible from any Internet-connected device. They’re very secure and uniquely scalable — your business can add more backup capacity with a few clicks. Moreover, your cloud provider will provide simple disaster recovery options that restore your data in an instant. Of course, the cloud has some inherent security risks, including latency as data starts to grow.
Local backup is often the preferred choice for small businesses that want speed, security control, and access to their data on their primary site. However, the hardware can be expensive to acquire. In addition, it’s much more labor-intensive to add additional storage to local backups than cloud backups. There’s also a much greater risk of a system failure or natural disaster impacting local backups.
Company data backup solutions
Choosing a backup solution isn’t always easy, so it’s important to consider the qualities of a good backup solution before you start analyzing your options.
You shouldn’t need to call in an IT expert when something goes wrong. Whichever solution you choose should be easy, fast, and simple so that you return to your work with minimal disruption. Carefully consider a provider’s help center – will you be able to troubleshoot issues by yourself, or will it require timely back and forth? In an emergency situation, you want confidence that you will be able to restore your data in a timely manner.
Security and transparency
You need to find exactly how your data is being protected and which information is backed up by the cloud provider. This is critical to ensure your data is secure and you’re fully compliant with local data privacy laws.
Ability to control backups
An ecommerce site that conducts transactions every minute will need continuous backups. A consultancy might need a daily or even weekly backup schedule. You should have the ability to schedule backups when you need them, as well as the ability to manually backup your data.
Costs and scalability
The amount of data backed up can impact your monthly storage costs, so if your data grows over time, your solution should match your budget and your ambition. Choose a backup service that will grow with you and offer a competitive rate without compromising the features you need.
Data backup with Rewind
Disaster can strike at any time. You need a data backup provider that has your back and can recover your information before any damage is done to your reputation or your bottom line.
Rewind’s data backup services meet all of the above criteria and more.