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How to Prevent and Minimize Data Loss

4 min read

We all rely on data in both our professional and personal lives, and we count on our data being accessible and reliable. But the reality is, data is fragile. It can be stolen, lost, damaged, or compromised. That’s why it’s important to be aware of data loss and employ strategies with the help of an IT support provider like Palm Tech to prevent or mitigate it.

But why is the threat of data loss so powerful?

And what should you do about it?

The Threat of Data Loss

Among companies that lost access to their primary data center for 10 or more days, 93 percent filed for bankruptcy within a year, according to UniTrends. That’s because the consequences of data loss are so multifaceted. You’ll no longer have access to data that was valuable to your business. You’ll incur costs to restore or replace that damage. You may face legal consequences, including fines, depending on the nature of the incident. You’ll lose customers. And your company reputation may never fully recover.

The threat of data loss is even more severe because there are so many different types of data loss that can threaten your business. For example:

·       Physical destruction. If your data is being kept in a physical capacity, it’s vulnerable to natural disasters and physical attacks. An earthquake or fire could destroy your servers.

·       Failures. You can also suffer from hardware or software failures. This is especially threatening if you don’t practice routine maintenance.

·       Mismanagement/human error. Some forms of data loss occur because of mismanagement or human error. For example, an employee could accidentally delete a file.

·       Theft/crime. And of course, you’ll need to consider the possibility of data theft and other forms of cybercrime. Hackers, social engineers, and opportunists may be motivated to harm your business in pursuit of material gain or out of spite.

Strategies to Prevent Data Loss

There are many strategies that can help you prevent and mitigate the costs of data loss (see here). The best approach is to hire an IT support professional, who can help you plan and coordinate multiple overlapping protection strategies simultaneously. You’ll need to plan comprehensively to be effective.

·       Backups. One of the easiest ways to mitigate the destructive potential of data loss is to create and maintain multiple backups. This way, if you lose data for any reason, you can restore your systems and data to a previous state relatively quickly.

·       Physical security. You’ll also need to invest in physical security for any data hosted on physical devices. If you have a data center, you’ll need to make sure it’s protected from both natural disasters and physical attacks. You’ll also need to have some kind of strategy in place to protect physical company equipment, like computers.

·       Regular maintenance. Regular maintenance can reduce the probability of a hardware or software failure. Replacing components as needed, issuing regular software updates, and fixing issues as they arise can put you in a much better position.

·       Cybersecurity measures. You also need to have measures in place to guard against cybercrime. VPNs and firewalls are excellent tools, but you should also have specific countermeasures for a wide range of threats, plans for how to prevent social engineering attacks, and response plans for incidents in progress.

·       Formal policies. There’s no room for ambiguity or improvisation when it comes to data loss prevention. You need to have formally documented policies and procedures in place, from the top down, so every member of your organization knows what your priorities are – and how to keep your data secure.

·       Employee education. Simple employee mistakes can lead to devastating consequences in the form of data loss. Accidental deletion, falling for social engineering scams, and misusing devices can all harm your company. That’s why it’s so important to educate and train your employees on the basics of data loss prevention.

·       Ongoing monitoring. No matter how carefully guarded your systems are, there’s always the risk of an attack. That’s why it’s important to employ some system of ongoing monitoring, so you can be automatically alerted if something is amiss. Ideally, you’ll be able to cut off attacks in progress, then quickly restore your systems back to normal.

·       Regular audits. Periodically, it pays to conduct regular audits of your cybersecurity and data loss prevention strategies. Malicious actors are constantly learning and evolving, using new tools and techniques to get access to your data. You’ll need to update your approach accordingly if you want to keep pace.

With the help of managed IT services, you can better understand the unique vulnerabilities that threaten your business, create a plan to prevent data loss, then execute that plan consistently across your entire business. If your business relies on data in any capacity, you should consider this essential.

Last Updated: September 5, 2023

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