Anastasia Stefanuk is a passionate writer and a marketing manager at Mobilunity. The company provides professional staffing services, so she is always aware of technology news and wants to share her experience to help tech startups and companies to be up-to-date.
As a business person or a person who owns a computer, how prepared are you in protecting yourself against data loss?
If you lost all of your important files and memorable photos, do you think you would be able to run data recovery to reclaim them?
Data recovery is the process of salvaging lost data from either a secondary storage system, removable media or files.
In this digital era, data has been classified as the new “oil”. In the business world, data is the driving force behind innovation, competition, productivity, and improvement of core operations. Likewise, governments all over the world require data to make vital decisions that will affect their populace.
With that in mind, the convergence of data streaming from billions of mobile phones, digital platforms, virtual-reality applications, and wireless sensors, continue to pile up with each passing day. In fact, it is estimated that the amount of electronic data in existence today is 2.7 zettabytes. This number is expected to grow to 175 zettabytes by 2025.
This presents a humongous challenge in managing and ensuring that such a large amount of data is secure. In addition, the looming question in many people’s minds is; what would happen if all this data magically disappeared? Would the world come to a standstill or are there backup mechanisms where it can be retrieved later?
This article has been broken down into the following sections.
- Causes of data loss and the impact on your business
- How to avert the cost of data loss
- Best practices to prevent data loss
- Use a professional service to prevent data loss and implement data recovery
Although not all data can be recovered, recuperating the viable portion is a tiresome process that often requires the help of an IT professional. This costs a lot of time and money, that could otherwise be allocated elsewhere.
According to a 2018 study by CompTIA, 84% of companies indicated that data is at the core of their business success— for example, how can a business operate without their customer’s contacts, inventory and profit info?
All this constitutes data, and it’s almost impossible for a business to run without it.
As shown in the image above, most large, medium and small companies classify their current security posture as ‘mostly satisfactory’. It seems that priority is not given to data security. Companies do not seem to work towards increasing their data security to reach a ‘completely satisfactory’ state.
Unfortunately, irrespective of the sensitive nature of data loss and the crippling costs associated, most companies have relegated data security and recovery to the bottom of their pecking order. In 2018 alone, the total cost of cybercrime to an organization was estimated to be $13.0 million. During the same year, the frequency of cyber-attacks increased by 11%, most of the targets being small businesses.
In this next section, we will look at the three main causes of data loss.
Data loss cause #1: Accidental file deleting
If you own a computer, updating and deleting files is a common activity. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that deleting or overwriting the wrong files in a computer is one of the leading causes of data loss. This unintended deleting of files without a backup can be costly in terms of money and resources, not forgetting it can potentially cripple business operations.
Data loss cause #2: Hard drive damage
Computer hard drives are some of the most fragile computer parts. They tend to easily break given that they have many intricate and moving parts inside. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to recover data from faulty drives although it is super-expensive. With that said, if you have serious hard drive problems, there are instances where even professionals can’t fully recover your data. Moreover, like any other computer parts, hard drives eventually die a natural death. As such, it’s important to back up your data or store it in multiple drives.
Data loss cause #3: Viruses and malware
Being connected online exposes you to a lot of information, one of the many benefits. However, this exposure means your computer is also exposed to multiple viruses and malware, which attack devices on a daily basis. Virus and malware damages may come in the form of operational software damage or damage to stored data.
Below, we are going to cut through the clutter and look at 7 compelling tips that can help you avert the crippling cost of data loss:
#1: Check your recycle bin
If you have accidentally deleted your files, the first place to check is the recycle bin. This is the folder that stores all the deleted files. Although the deleted files and info may not be visible on your computer, they do have a physical location on your hard drive(s). Because of this, deleted data can be restored from the recycle bin once initially deleted.
#2: Check for backed data in unconventional places
This may sound like a no-brainer suggestion, but it can go a long way towards saving you the stress in recovering your data. If you are lucky to have sent a copy of info to a colleague in the form of an email, you won’t have to start from scratch in recovering your data.
Additionally, missing files can also be located in surprising places like the memory card in Windows.
#3: Regularly backup on cloud storage
The only surefire way of avoiding complete data loss is the regular backup of your info. For instance, you can get into the habit of backing up your images and documents via the inbuilt windows programs. Alternatively, you can invest in cloud storage.
Most companies are turning to cloud storage. The benefit of this is that you get your data stored in a separate location. This means it is hard to be compromised by a corrupted hard drive or a faulty flash drive. The security of cloud storage is also unquestionable. Despite the remote nature of cloud-based platforms, they use encryption to encode the stored info making it less prone to hackers.
#4: Invest in a file recovery program
There are multiple portable file and data recovery programs that you can use to scan your disks for deleted files. Once you are done scanning, you are able to search for all the missing files by their names and recover them.
On top of having a file recovery program, ensure your computer is operating efficiently without getting overloaded to avoid crashing. For this, you can use Memory Boosters to free up storage space, optimize your data, and improve the speed of your device.
#5: Meticulously scan for lost data
Maintaining an efficient search method could mean being able to locate and recover, otherwise, lost data. There are multiple free tools on offer that help you search for files.
#6: Avoid downloading or installing new programs on your system
If you are planning on turning to DIY for your data recovery, it’s important to minimize the number of new programs you download or install in your system -ironically this includes the data recover ones. This is because the download of too many new programs can potentially overwrite the very data you’re looking to recover, and even alter or corrupt newly created data.
Instead, you can use externally accessed data recovery programs from a CD or a flash disc.
#7: Be proactive
Prevention is better than cure. Instead of waiting to lose your data and then recover it, you can try and prevent this by learning to recognize the early signs of a hard drive failure. By doing so, you are able to anticipate and prevent data loss way before it happens. Some of the most common signs of a faulty hard drive include grinding, clicking, and whirring sounds. Additionally, sluggish system operations are also signs of a failing hard drive.
If you notice any of the above signs, quickly shut down your computer and unplug it from the power source. You can then proceed with your data recovery plan.
Most individuals and companies lack an effective Data Loss Prevention (DLP) plan. This makes it almost impossible to counter data loss or even recover data once lost. One of the major causes of this confusion is the use of a wide variety of both authorized and unauthorized communication channels that relay and receive data. Moreover, data storage is done in different places, including PC smartphones, legacy databases, the cloud, file server, and more.
As a result, there is a lack of data visibility in terms of what flows into and outside the organization, which complicates data loss prevention.
We will now look at some of the best data loss prevention practices. They can be used at a personal or corporate level.
The best data loss prevention practices#1: Have a centralized DLP policy
Having an inconsistent, overly incoherent, and scattered DLP policy leads to poor data visibility and insecurity. This ad hoc nature means that it’s implemented differently, and as a small unit in the various departments. This makes it hard to recover data once lost.
To avoid this, you can implement a centralized DLP that flows from the bottom to the top, with uniform protocols that eliminate all the potential loopholes.
The best data loss prevention practices#2: Define User Roles
A good DLP program should clearly define the roles of individuals and limit access to information to the extent of their job position. For instance, a sales agent needs to have access to the sales info and payment card data. This not only makes the workflow easier in an organization but also prevents unauthorized access to info.
The best data loss prevention practices#3: Use automated data loss prevention tools
As humans, we do make mistakes, plus we have limited ability to detect problems compared to machines. By automating your data loss tools, you help minimize or eliminate human errors by protecting your data automatically. For instance, you can use spam-filtering software to automatically prevent phishing attacks. Alternatively, automatic anti-virus software can help prevent infection of your computer.
The best data loss prevention practices#4: Regularly conduct data inventory and assessment
Another great data loss prevention tip is to know the type of data you are harboring, categorizing it, and knowing where it is stored. There are DLP tools capable of identifying, opening, and analyzing files to determine the type of content they are holding. After that, you need to evaluate all the risks associated with respective data categories and sealing the loopholes accordingly.
The best data loss prevention practices#5: Gradually implement your DLP
Data loss prevention is a long-term process that needs to be implemented in phases. The ideal approach works by prioritizing data types and their communication channels. Additionally, rather than implementing blanket DLP tools, you should consider doing it in relation to your organization’s priorities.
Losing data can be a scary experience. The key lies in having a fallback plan where you can retrieve your data once this disaster strikes without crippling your business. If you decide to go the DIY way, you need to be extremely careful as even the slightest mistake could lead to more disaster, and failure to recover your files. This is because the hard drive needs to be opened in a controlled lab environment if your data is to be fully retrieved.
To avoid the unnecessary mess, it is good to use the professional tools and services available for your data recovery processes. This is where Process Street comes in.
Process Street is a state-of-the-art workflow management software.
With Process Street, data protection processes and data recovery processes can be recorded, tracked, and assigned to relevant personnel. To exemplify how, take look at our Software Debugging Process below.
With Process Street you can create templates, just like our software debugging checklist above, detailing each step so that anybody can follow the given process.
To do this, you will find our templates have the following features, making them superpowered:
- Stop tasks to ensure task order
- Dynamic due dates, so no deadline is missed
- Conditional logic, creating a dynamic template that caters to your needs
- Role assignment, to ease task delegation within your team
So there you have it. With the above tips and best practices, in addition to our advice given in regards to the professional services and tools you can use to prevent data loss and implement data recovery processes, your data should never go missing again.
Are there any tricks and tips we have missed that you use to prevent data loss and to implement data recovery in your business? If so, please comment below. Who knows, you might even get featured in an upcoming article.