Losing important data can be frustrating – almost all of us have experienced it before whether it’s a personal photo or a work document. For businesses data loss can have devastating effects, possibly inconveniencing clients and negatively impacting your company’s reputation. Whilst this data can sometimes be recovered, it often isn’t easy to retrieve it. Here are some of the most common causes of data loss and how you can avoid them.
Viruses and malware may corrupt data. Cybercriminals may even steal files or hold them hostage – threatening to delete them unless a ransom is paid (commonly known as ransomware). Small businesses that are not digitally secured enough can often fall victim to this type of data loss. The best way to defend against this threat is to improve your cyber and data security. This could include using firewalls that scan emails and websites for malicious content before opening them, encrypting files and having strong passwords.
Accidentally deleting files
Human error can also result in data loss. Files may get accidentally deleted whilst moving documents from one folder to another. When it comes to touchscreen devices, failing to lock these devices when in your pocket may also result in photos or contacts accidentally being deleted. You can’t always prevent human error, however you can prevent this data being lost forever by having it backed up somewhere – this could include backing it up on the cloud or using an external hard drive.
Damage to hardware can also result in data loss. This could be the result of accidentally spilling coffee on a laptop or a natural disaster such as a fire or even vandalism. Whilst you can prevent this damage by treating your devices with care, for those times when damage is unpreventable, you’re best off simply having data backed up. The cloud is the safest place to back up files – whilst you can use external hard drives and USBs, these will often deteriorate over time (if you’ve got a flashdrive that’s over eight years old, you may want to transfer some of the files elsewhere as these devices don’t last forever).
Sometimes software can fail and result in data loss. This can be the result of all manner of faults from not cleaning up your computer to not running important updates. Software may even get corrupted from hardware damage. By keeping your computer well maintained you can often prevent this type of data loss.
Old-fashioned burglary is still a leading cause of data loss. By securing your devices and backing up files, you can usually prevent this. Businesses should consider physical security measures such as burglar alarms and CCTV to deter thieves. Keeping devices locked with passwords can also prevent thieves being able to access files even after obtaining your machine – modern computers are now using facial recognition which is harder to crack than a password.