6 common reasons for data loss

Data loss can have a devastating impact on a company’s performance, particularly when the information is critical for maintaining day-to-day operations.

This is why many companies invest in data storage as part of a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. Having vital information backed up offsite ensures businesses can get systems up and running again as quickly as possible.

But what are the biggest threats to a company’s data? Here are six common causes of data loss.

1. Hardware failure

A recent Kroll Ontrack study showed hardware failures are the most frequently cited reason for data loss among businesses and home users.

Of the 1,066 people surveyed, 66 per cent claimed a hardware crash was responsible for their most recent loss of information, with hard disk drives (HDD) being the main culprit.

2. Human error

Even the most experienced computer users make mistakes, so it’s no surprise human error was cited as the second-most common reason for data loss in the Kroll study.

Whether it’s something as simple as spilling coffee on a laptop or a more serious error such as pulling the wrong drive from a RAID array that causes a database failure, the risk of important information becoming unavailable can make data storage an appealing option.

Twenty-seven per cent of companies claimed their most recent data loss led to a business process failing, including mission-critical services.

3. Natural disasters

Australia is prone to natural disasters, including bushfires, floods and thunderstorms – and it is in these circumstances where offsite data storage can be particularly helpful.

Should extreme weather conditions cause considerable damage to your office or work site, you can rest assured that business data remains out of harm’s way.

4. Theft or loss

It is not uncommon for devices containing important information to be lost or stolen.

Not only is this a great cause of embarrassment for the organisation involved, they could find themselves landed with a hefty fine if the data is sensitive or confidential.

Data backed up at a private vaulting service is protected by a number of sophisticated security measures to prevent such incidents.

5. Hackers and viruses

Cyber criminals are becoming increasingly advanced, meaning companies must keep up to date with the latest IT security software and protocols to remain ahead of the game.

However, despite their best efforts, many firms still fall victim to hackers, malware and computer viruses that can corrupt business data and leave important business systems unavailable.

This may be particularly problematic in Australia, with recent Ponemon Institute research showing the country has some of the lowest rates of IT security training and education in the world.

6. Software failure

The Kroll Ontrack study claimed 6 per cent of data loss incidents are due to software failings, which can be hard to prevent or protect against.

“Businesses and home users should have working redundancies, such as a backup device or service in place, and a continuity plan that is current and accessible in the event of a loss,” advised Jeff Pederson, manager of data recovery operations for Kroll Ontrack.

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