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Obvious After the Fact: 4 Ways Your Data Can Fail

Nov 16, 2016, 10:18 AM by Peter Ely

Nobody likes to think about worst-case scenarios. And as an IT professional, you already have plenty to worry about every day. You’re working hard maintaining a reliable and streamlined IT infrastructure for your company, meeting the technology and communication needs of your on-the-go workforce, monitoring your existing hardware and software to be ready for upgrades, and handling the frequent whining — ahem, requests — from your clients’ users when they need help navigating new equipment or troubleshooting the legacy stuff.

Unlike the users, the need for backup doesn’t keep calling, or txting, or IM’ing you… so it may not be top of mind. Until after it’s needed. At that point… uh oh.

Of course, the last thing you want to think about is your company’s mission-critical data being wiped out, and not having a retrievable copy of everything you’ll need to get things back up and running quickly to resume normal business operations.

But think about it you must. And if you’re an MSP or other technology reseller, you need to alert your IT clients to this need as well. Because data can and does get wiped out — due to plenty of causes nobody sees coming because the failure didn’t txt you first.

Here are just a handful of ways your clients can lose their data, listed in no particular order, because any one of them could happen, at any time, to any company. And some statistics that might surprise you.

1) Natural disaster — not something to bet against.

A business headquartered in Upstate New York has probably not given much thought in the last few weeks to the need for offsite and redundant data backup. But today, thanks to recent unfortunate events, a business located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, probably has it much more top of mind.

According to a feature in Business2Community magazine, the last time that region faced flooding of similar magnitude — due to hurricanes Katrina and Rita — 60% of Mississippi’s small businesses were forced to close permanently. And in many cases, because these businesses neglected the “worst-case scenario” planning when it came to their data, it was in fact the irretrievable loss of mission-critical company data that forced the permanent shutdowns.

Natural disasters can strike anywhere, anytime. Earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires — the list goes on. And the key point to remember here is that even if you are conscientiously backing up your company’s data, if you’re using the methods most businesses still use — onsite backup systems based on tapes or disks — your backed-up data may still be at risk when natural disaster strikes because it, too, will be stored in the affected location. Err… oops!

According to a Forbes article on data disasters, although 94% of US small businesses back up their critical data, most keep their backed-up data on-premises. Only 40% of those businesses back up their data to an offsite location.

The advice Forbes gives is the same as we offer: Back it up, offsite, in multiple locations.

2) Ransomware attack – are you worth their attention? Perhaps…

As The Los Angeles Times recently reported, when an employee of LA-based Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center attempted to log in to his work computer, he found a terrifying message — a ransomware note. The message alerted the employee that hackers had seized control of the institution’s entire computer network and were demanding money (paid in bitcoin) before they would return control of the hospital’s data back to its rightful owners.

According to a spokesperson for the medical center, this created a serious disruption in the hospital’s operations — as physicians and nurses were unable to check or update their patients’ digital records, or to communicate with each other via computer. In other words, this attack put lives at risk.

Of course, your business (or your clients’ companies, if you’re a technology reseller) probably won’t face similar, life-threatening risks if hackers were to seize control of your corporate data and threaten to destroy it if they weren’t paid a ransom.

But this threat is equally real to the security and ongoing operations of your business. And the ransomware threat is growing every day. According to a 2016 ransomware report conducted by the Kaspersky Security Network, between April 2015 and March 2016 ransomware attacks worldwide rose nearly 18%, up to a jaw-dropping 2,315,931 incidents.

18%… ouch! And how many of those businesses thought ransomware would ever happen to them?

Of course, when a hospital or other healthcare entity has its data hacked and stolen, the organization has other worries — its patients’ security, noncompliance with federal regulations, damage to its reputation. But in the case of most businesses in most industries, knowing that their corporate data is continually backed up, securely, offsite and in multiple locations will mitigate at least some of the concern about being victimized by a ransomware attack. It will mean, in other words, that the chances of such an attack dealing a fatal blow to the victimized company are minimal.

3) Hardware failure… happens to the best of us.

Of course, most causes of corporate data loss are far less dramatic than the ransomware attack.

What if an employee simply drops a computer? Or someone spills coffee on a company flash drive? Or one of the many data-storing computers around your organization — laptops, desktops, tablets, smart phones, servers, etc. — simply gives out?

According to a report from BetaNews, about two-thirds of business data loss is attributable to some sort of hardware failure, like drive crashes. And if you’re thinking your company is okay because you back up your data onsite, consider also that your backup devices are also prone to failure — tapes can become corrupted from mishandling or overuse, for example, and drives can fail due to inadequate cleaning.

Furthermore, this report also found that 27% of businesses that lost some of their data also suffered a disruption to their normal operations as a result.

What this all points to, like the previous examples, is that the safest and smartest approach to data backup and recovery is to find a cloud-based solution that lets you continually and automatically back up your data offsite, in multiple, geographically distinct facilities.

4) Human error… yes, points for creativity but…

Finally, there’s always human error.

You can secure your network, encrypt your files with the most sophisticated protocols available, implement a mobile device management program, protect your systems with an intrusion prevention system, and make sure all of your organization’s hardware and software are always cutting edge. But none of that will matter when you hear “Oops!” from the cubicle of an employee and look up to see him standing over his computer, all of the color drained from his face.

According to a 2015 article in Computer Business Review, human error is responsible for a third of data loss — often from simple mistakes such as accidentally deleting files.

These mistakes are compounded, of course, when the company itself does not have a continual, automatic system for backing up all corporate data. In such a scenario, a simple tap of the wrong key on an employee’s office computer can permanently and irretrievably wipe out a company’s mission-critical data.

The Need for Cloud-Based, Offsite Backup and Disaster Recovery

Again, as with all of the previous examples, these “Oops!” accidental-file-deletion moments can be downgraded from category-five disasters to mere funny stories that colleagues tell over after-work beers — if the company employs an offsite, redundant solution for data backup and recovery.

KeepItSafe is an industry leader in cloud backup, disaster recovery and endpoint protection.

Contact us or one of our Partners to learn how we can protect your data — 24/7/365.

Resellers, join our Partner Program to help your clients better protect their data, systems and network infrastructure.


Peter Ely

Channel Marketing Manager, KeepItSafe

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