Companies in the United States experienced 1,093 breaches in 2016, according to a study from Statista, which resulted in 36 million records exposed.
What is the actual cost of these attacks?
According to this study, the average cost of cybercrime in the U.S. during 2016 was over $17 million.
And here’s the kicker:
39 percent – the bulk of the total costs of a cyberattack – were attributed to data loss, according to this survey.
If you can’t prevent data loss during a cyber attack or natural disaster, you’re going to lose a lot of money.
To help you protect your company from such a catastrophe, we’ll show you how most organizations lose their data in the first place, and how you can prevent data loss altogether.
But before we get to that, let’s make sure we know what data loss means.
What is Data Loss?
Data loss is when information systems are corrupted, deleted, or unrecoverable.
It most commonly occurs due to neglect in storage, transmission, or processing.
Data loss is distinct from data unavailability – which is primarily caused by power outages – and from a data breach – which refers to your data being stolen.
However, data loss has been used interchangeably with data breach, since cybercriminals don’t always give your information back, or corrupt it in the hacking process.
And, if you experience a power surge – creating temporary data unavailability – while you were in the middle of transferring files, you may find them corrupted or unreadable as a result, which would also constitute data loss.
The point is, data loss can happen for multiple reasons in various ways.
If you want to prevent data loss, you’re going to need to know all the ways it can occur.
Let’s take a look at just a few.
7 Types of Data Loss
Hard Drive Failure
This is one of the most persistent forms of data loss you’re likely to encounter.
Your hard drive is probably failing if you experience any of these signs:
- Clicking, skipping, or scraping noises
- An unusually hot temperature
- Constant computer freezes
- Constant hard drive crashes
- Slow performance when running standard programs
- Corrupted files
These issues may arise from the old age of your hard drive, but they could also be caused by external factors like dropping your hard drive or exposing it to magnetic fields.
Internal factors like file corruption, tampering with the file system, or improper drive formatting can also cause hard drive failure.
Viruses and Malware
Viruses and malware are the most malicious IT security threats next to hacking.
An employee may accidentally install a virus which could infiltrate your entire network – one of the many shadow IT risks you should be aware of.
Hackers may install malware to access your information which can cause damage to your internal systems.
And, while there are misconceptions about cloud computing, the reality is that the benefits of the internet bring with it all the risks.
In the right (or wrong) hands, a computer can be more valuable than cash, and criminals won’t hesitate to capitalize on an opportunity to steal your unattended laptop.
Not only are you personally vulnerable to hacking, identity theft, or data loss, but so is your company if you use that computer for work.
Crime is opportunistic, which means you should never leave your laptop exposed in your car, left on a table alone, or brought to a crowded environment in a nondescript satchel that’s easily swiped.
If you must bring your laptop with you anywhere, make sure you keep it in front of you at all times and have someone else watch it if you have to walk away for any reason.
Fire damage is certainly the rarest form of data loss, but it does still occur.
There were over 8,000 non-residential fires in 2015 caused by electrical malfunctions alone, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
Every company with a data center should have fire-proof cables, a temperature gauge, smoke alarms, sprinkler systems, and should follow some basic best practices in preventing data center fires.
Of course, the best way to guard against data center fires is to store your data in other places.
You may have to invest in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to reliably store massive amounts of data, in which case, you’ll want to be familiar with the top companies offering IaaS solutions: AWS vs Google Cloud vs Azure.
Any liquid spilled onto your computer can and will cause permanent damage.
Sugary soda is especially harmful because the acids in the liquid start to corrode the computer’s internal parts which can damage your hard drive, destroy your keyboard, and erode the motherboard.
If you have to keep a drink next to you while working, make sure it has a secure lid.
It’s easy to delete important files forever accidentally.
While the Recycle Bin offers some protection against delete-happy fingers, if you delete files from drives, or use the Shift + Delete function, they’ll be lost forever.
You have to be especially careful not to delete system files necessary for the proper functioning of your computer, as these can be extremely difficult to restore if you don’t act quickly.
A power outage or power surge can cause a lot of damage.
If your hard drive was writing an important system file and suddenly there’s a blackout, that file could become corrupted, which could lead to a malfunctioning operating system.
A power surge can cause damage to your computer’s hardware by overloading it with electrical energy, frying the components.
Every time a computer unexpectedly shuts down and restarts, the hard drive experiences small imperfections on the disk, which accumulate over time and leads to an eventual hard drive breakdown.
A computer needs to follow its shutdown procedures to ensure all processes cease functioning properly.
7 Ways to Prevent Data Loss
Now that you know how much danger your computer faces every day, let’s take a look at how we can mitigate these threats and prevent data loss.
The #1 most important preventative measure against data loss is to backup all of your data.
Here a few tips about data backup that’ll help you do it effectively:
- Keep at least one copy of your original data on a separate disk than the one in the computer you’re backing up.
- Store your data backup on a separate site.
- Verify your backup data isn’t corrupted, invalid, or incorrect before disaster strikes.
Firewall and Antivirus
Choosing a firewall and antivirus solution is a critical first step in protecting your company’s sensitive data.
As we already pointed out, viruses and malware can steal all forms of sensitive information, leading to even greater data breaches.
Be sure your firewall and antivirus software are designed to handle the size, scope, and security requirements of your organization and always keep them updated and properly maintained.
Protect Data from Power Surges
Power surges and power outages can and will wreak havoc on your computer system. To prevent data loss, you’re going to need an uninterruptible power supply.
It will provide near-instantaneous emergency power if the main supply cuts out so you can save your documents and shut down your computer properly without damaging the hardware or corrupting the files.
Develop a Disaster Recovery Plan
A lot can go wrong and become damaged in an emergency situation if employees don’t know what to do when a particular threat emerges.
A disaster recovery plan will allow everyone in your organization to spring into action the moment a disaster occurs to minimize data loss.
Keep Your Computer Dust-Free and Dry
Dust can build up and cause overheating, while humidity can induce rusting – damaging your hardware.
It’s best to keep your computer in a safe, dry, dust-free area. Low-traffic areas are ideal, but not always feasible.
Specify Access Levels
Preventing data loss also means preventing specific employees from accessing specific kinds of data on your network.
Allow your IT team to set access levels, create policies that restrict the usage of company data, and have employees sign a security agreement when they’re hired.
Work With IT Security Experts
While you can implement many of these strategies on your own, they will be executed more efficiently and effectively by a team of experts.
An IT security company with years of experience will be more likely to devise the best security strategy for your organization.
From risk auditing to penetration testing, they’ll find the holes in your current system and make the appropriate changes.
If you want to secure your company from all forms of threats and prevent data loss from ruining your business, then consider hiring an IT security company.
Prevent Data Loss by Hiring a Proven IT Security Company
We’ll undertake a disaster readiness assessment and then move to implement policies designed to protect your company from outages big and small. If disaster does strike, we’ll make sure you get up and running fast, and replace any damaged components or hardware. You can’t afford uncertainty in data security. We’ll make sure you’re completely covered – protected from cyberthreats and natural disaster alike.
Contact us for your free consultation today to learn more!