Data is at the heart of all modern business operations, but 68 percent of small business owners don’t have a plan in place for backing up that critical information. Your business most likely holds various insurance policies to cover other parts of your operation. Data backup and recovery fall down the priority list until disaster strikes. Some business owners assume that “it won’t happen to them,” but the numbers say otherwise.

The Data Loss Reality

Seventy percent of companies either have or will experience data loss. The primary causes are:

  • 78 percent come from hardware or system malfunction, such as hard drive failure
  • 11 percent are generated by human error, which includes accidental deletion
  • 7 percent occur when the software gets corrupted
  • 2 percent of data gets lost from viruses and other malware
  • 1 percent happens during a natural disaster.

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The Cost of Data Losses

Companies may fall into the trap of focusing too much on data losses that come from data breaches, and not enough on the top causes. When 60 percent of companies shut down within six months of losing their data, it’s essential to have policies, procedures and systems in place to protect vital information from common problems. Every business is going to experience hardware failure, software issues and human errors. The estimated cost to businesses for data loss is $18.2 billion annually.

The Consequences of Downtime

The immediate result from downtime is obvious: your business is losing revenue and employee productivity until the systems are restored. However, the damage goes beyond these two factors. The potential for long-term damage to your company’s image could result in a massive drop in profitability. Restoring your reputation is a long and expensive process, with no guarantees that it will go back to normal. Frequent or extended downtime could disrupt your project deadlines, breach contracts with your customers and clients, or result in expensive lawsuits. If data isn’t properly backed up, then days, months or even years of employee work could be lost permanently.

Keeping Your Data Safe

Backup and disaster recovery should be included in the foundation of your cybersecurity strategy. You’re not just protecting this information from external actors. You have to consider the potential for accidental data deletion, systems going down and other internal threats. It’s just as important as teaching your employees about social engineering and creating policies for protecting sensitive and privileged information.

Are You Backing Up All of Your Data

Your company’s email inboxes contain a substantial amount of important data, but it often gets overlooked in data backup and disaster recovery plans. Phishing attacks represent 87% of the high-risk threats that lead to email data loss. Accidental deletion is a distant second.

If you’re using a cloud-based solution such as Office 365, you might assume that the emails are automatically backed up as part of this service. While E3 and above licenses have an archiving solution, archives are not the same as backups. It’s important to have when you’re operating in a regulated industry for compliance, but it primarily functions as a place to store data that’s no longer actively being used.

A backup contains a full copy of a data set and can be quickly restored after a data loss or disaster. Ideally, the backup locations are onsite and offsite to protect against natural disasters. When the backup solution is properly configured and tested, you minimize your unplanned downtime and decrease the direct and indirect costs related to data losses.

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