Big picture: Everyday examples of data loss

For small business owners, data loss is a constant threat. That statement isn’t meant to make you paranoid or trigger a panic attack. Instead, it’s important to know how sensitive information gets exposed and how companies make themselves susceptible to hacks. Knowledge is always power.

Below are some events that lead to data loss along with some key preventative measures.

1. We all make mistakes

Not all data loss is malicious. In many cases, people simply make errors that cause information to disappear. They might enter data into the wrong spreadsheet. They could accidentally erase a file or 100 files. And someone might drop or accidentally destroy a device with important info on it.

Of course, to err is human, and you’ll never completely eliminate worker mistakes. Even so, you can mitigate the effects of human error by offering thorough training programs for all staff members. Storing all of your data in at least two different places is equally wise.

2. Acts of God

Your data server’s physical location could get severely damaged by an earthquake, hurricane, wildfire, tsunami, flood or other natural catastrophes. As a result, you could lose access to your data temporarily or forever.

Once more, find a secure place to store backup data. It might be another physical location that’s far from the first. Cloud storage is a great idea as well.

3. On the fritz

Just as people can mess up, so too can machines. In fact, in the United States, 140,000 business hard drives crash every week. Plus, electrical outages and power surges can obliterate data. Files can become corrupt. Controllers can fail. Aging computers can sputter out. Indeed, the causes of hardware and software failure are too numerous to list here.

What are some remedies for these problems? Only buy hardware and software from sources you trust, and let experts install them. Routinely replace old machines and programs. Keep your technical equipment in rooms that are free of dirt, dust, grime and moisture.

Also, allow an experienced IT team to examine your infrastructure on a regular basis. Those whizzes can spot potential problems before they strike.

4. Criminals

It comes in many forms. It’s always lurking as a threat. It can be difficult to stop. It’s cybercrime.

Hackers break into business networks using various methods and tools. They include malicious emails, entering obvious passwords, email phishing schemes and ransomware.

To foil cyberthieves, encrypt your data, and remind your employees to stay on safe websites and networks. Plus, they should never click on suspicious links or respond to emails from unknown parties. Impossible-to-guess passwords are also a must.

In addition, rely on a strong firewall and the most up-to-date antivirus programs you can find. What’s more, the right IT pros can keep crooks at bay with round-the-clock network monitoring and regular fixes. If anything ever seems out of the ordinary, they can investigate right away and perhaps stop criminals in their tracks.

With a cool head, you can take a virtual bite out of cybercrime. You can also reduce human error, prepare for natural disasters and avoid technical malfunctions. Thus, your data will remain protected. And, like a good friend or a loyal dog, it’ll be there when you need it.