By Lucy Reed
Your data is what allows you to succeed as a business. However, if you’re like a lot of small business owners, you’re not taking the right steps to protect against data loss. According to Small Business Trends, 58 percent of small businesses are ill-prepared for data loss.
5 Reasons Your Business Could Lose Data
You might think data loss is something only big businesses need to worry about. After all, who would target your small business with a cyberattack? Not only are small businesses targeted by cyber attacks at an alarming frequency (according to USA Today, 61 percent of breaches in 2016 hit small businesses), but there are other ways your business could suffer a data loss:
- Human error: It only takes one slip-up to delete an important file, accidentally download malware, or spill liquids on a device.
- Mechanical failure: If a hard drive fails and your data isn’t properly backed up, you’ll be in a very tough spot.
- Theft: Laptops, smartphones, and other devices that leave the office with employees are vulnerable to theft.
- Natural disasters: A fire, storm, or major power outage could affect your business.
How Data Loss Affects Your Business
Recovering from data loss is tough for small businesses. Sixty percent of small businesses that lose data are forced to close within six months, according to Clutch. Even if you recover your data, the revenue loss from an unexpected closure could cause irreparable harm to your business. Data losses are also bad for your reputation — if customers think you’re not adequately protecting their data, they’ll do business elsewhere.
How to Recover Lost Data
If you recover data quickly, your business may be able to avoid the damaging effects of data loss. However, this isn’t a job for your IT staff. Rapid, thorough data recovery is a highly skilled job. If you don’t want to waste time and money getting your business up and running, hire a professional data recovery team. Data recovery engineers can recover lost files and prevent further damage to your systems. It’s important that you take all computing systems offline as soon as the data loss occurs, and don’t attempt any fixes yourself. An experienced data professional, like those with Secure Data Recovery, will know how to safely recover your information. Beware that if you try to fix it yourself, you could inadvertently make the problem much worse.
Preventing Future Data Loss
After recovering from your data loss, your business has another challenge: preventing it from happening again. These are the steps every small business should take to prevent data loss:
- Backup your data: The 3-2-1 rule is considered best practice for small business data backup. The 3-2-1 rule dictates that businesses have three copies of their data, stored in two different formats, with one copy stored off-site. For example, a business could have their original data, one back-up on an external hard drive, and a second back-up in the cloud. As Carbonite explains, this ensures no single failure can eliminate your data.
- Verify backups: Your data protection is only as good as your backups. If you’re not regularly verifying that your backup data is updated and functional, your business is still at risk of data loss. Schedule check-ups of your backup data several times per year to ensure everything is working as it should.
Data loss is a major problem for small businesses. Unfortunately, many small business owners don’t realize the importance of data protection until a data loss happens to them. With these tips, you can prevent a serious data loss from threatening your business — and if it happens, you’ll know how to recover and move forward.
About the Author: Lucy Reed has been starting businesses since she was a kid, from the lemonade stand she opened in her parent’s driveway at age 10 to the dog walking business she started while in college. She created GigMine because she was inspired by the growth of the sharing economy and wanted to make it easier for entrepreneurial individuals like herself to find the gig opportunities in their areas.