No one loves “I told you so” situations and that's especially true for business owners. Nowadays computer penetration is so high that it is difficult to imagine a company without one. Computers store sales and customer data – which is essential in successfully running a business these days – while others might save their in-progress work, copies of invoices, or even digitalized sketches and artistic creations. Losing digital information stored on a hard drive or solid-state drive can be devastating for any employer.
It's easy to fall for headlines that claim that 80% of businesses suffering a computer disaster and that have no disaster recovery plans end up closing down, because such myths have been repeated countless times by various blogs while some service providers have a vested interest in the data recovery industry. But while this statement originates from the 90s when there was little protection against such digital threats, there’s no overlooking the fact that – if you’re not careful – it’s still easy to lose important data.
Defending Against Common Causes of Data Loss
While today we fortunately have the necessary tools to prevent data loss, it’s still important to identify the most common problems causing data loss, though naturally each data recovery case is unique. Being aware of these risks – and how to protect against them – will help any business prepare its bespoke data loss prevention program.
1. Train Your Employees
Even the best employees in the world make mistakes such as accidentally deleting files or overwriting sections of important text. Although unintentional, such situations harm your business.
You can limit human error by using software solutions such as versioning or automated backup services. However, training your employees helps reduce the risk of human error. Sometimes files just end up in the Recycle Bin or Trash and can easily be recovered, but if the staff understands how the software and data storage works and is trained in proper versioning and file management then they’re more likely to keep such mistakes from happening. Enforcing policies such as keeping liquid away from business computers or using spill-proof containers and storing laptops in water-resistant cases will help defend against any potential physical damage to data storage.
It’s equally important to teach your employees of the value of strong password security, since carelessly created easy-to-crack passwords could make accessing confidential data a much bigger risk. As part of this, consider adopting a password management suite across all the business’s computers and implement a password policy to enforce strong credential creation.
2. Run Up-to-Date Antivirus Software
Viruses and malware can damage important files and/or steal important information and seriously affect businesses. Keep your antivirus software up-to-date to defend against the most recent internet attacks and back up your data regularly. Finding a solution to securely backup your data – whether it is kept in the cloud or stored locally – will also mitigate any risk should the worst actually happen.
3. Keep an Eye on Software Alerts of Hard Disk Failure
It's wise to invest in Mac or PC optimization software for two reasons: first, it will keep all company computers clean of junk data to ensure the devices run at peak performance, and secondly that such apps monitor the hard drive or solid-state drive's health.
By monitoring various metrics of your device’s health – the SMART status of the drive – these apps will warn you in time if the storage medium is about to fail. Keep an eye on the SMART status of the disk and any signs that indicate a hard drive failure, such as:
- Frequent hard drive crashes.
- Unusually hot computers.
- Slow processing speeds.
- Frequent computer freezes.
Software crashes are also often signs of data corruption and ignoring them will cause irreparable harm by deleting files and wasting time on restoring data… if a backup is even available. Optimization apps are useful in such scenarios: they can repair permissions causing issues or completely uninstall faulty apps so that the IT department can perform a fresh reinstall.
4. Use a Data Recovery App
Sometimes a single wrong move is enough to erase the work of a lifetime. Don't panic, though: if you act fast, DIY data recovery apps can recover most of the data – even in the case of a formatted hard drive – due to how digital information is stored.
In such situations it helps to control who has access to which files. Train employees about data confidentiality and how it can be accessed and shared. It's in the company's interest to control the access that every employee has because doing so limits the risk of accidental or intentional data loss.
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