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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Data Loss Can be Catastrophic; Plan For Disaster Recovery Today!

94% of companies suffering from a catastrophic data loss do not survive – 43% never reopen and 51% close within two years, according to University of Texas. Also, Gartner reports that 7 out of 10 small firms that experience a major data loss go out of business within a year.

Data is crucial to businesses and the reliance on it is important not just for the current operations, but also for future growth. Since a disaster can strike in any form at any time, it can have very serious consequences on an organization. It takes its toll at different levels, be it financial, reputation, confidentiality, etc.

Given that most businesses rely on the use of technology for their operations, manufacturing, processing, sales and marketing, etc., and with most departments relying on shared data, any loss of data can elevate and escalate the negative cost implications across the business. This can have both short term and long-term consequences. It is of even more consequence at a time when the news is spread rapidly across social media outlets and can have a crippling effect.

What is also important is that some data is confidential and can be connected to employees, customers, etc. While not only breaching the trust of the concerned people, it can also lead to huge amounts being spent on facing legal battles. And most of all, every organization spends tremendous time and money to build customer loyalty and it is extremely difficult to regain trust should a company be faced with data loss.

Key reasons for Data Loss

There are several reasons for data loss and they come in the form of human error, natural disasters, cyber-attacks, power loss, malfunctioning of hardware or software, etc.

  • Cyber Attacks- According to a recent report by Gemalto, for the first half of the year 2016, 974 publicly disclosed data breaches took place in the first half of 2016, which led to the successful theft or loss of 554 million data records.
  • Hardware or System Malfunctions- According to a survey of data loss’s causes, more than two-fifth of users lose data because of hardware or system malfunctions. It is the most common cause of data loss.
  • Human errors- Another common cause for data loss manifests itself in the form of clicking on the Delete or Format unintentionally or even the damage caused by physical damage by dropping the device.
  • Computer Viruses and Malware- The risks involved in damage and loss of information at the current moment is also very high with the increasing number of virus, malware and ransomware attacks. This is applicable not just in larger enterprises, but also in smaller organizations. This can spread rapidly while causing temporary or complete damage to the business data.
  • Natural Disasters- One of the most uncontrollable causes of data loss include earthquakes, fires, floods, etc. However according to a survey, natural disasters account for only 3% of data loss.

Planning for Disaster Recovery

A Disaster Recovery plan is a tabulated, organized and methodical approach with detailed instructions and preconceived responses to mediate accidental and unexpected disruptions. It is a comprehensive plan that includes anticipatory precautions, refined and scenario based reactions, reserve resources and redundancies so that the impact of a disaster can be contained and the enterprise can sustain essential operations as well as resume critical functions rapidly and with relative ease.

Steps to get started

  1. Conduct a data assessment to better prioritize what data you need to have on hand after a disaster and who will need to have access to it
  2. Define an acceptable recovery time objective, recovery point objective and choose the right storage media
  3. Create a disaster recovery plan and test it
  4. Make sure sensitive data is properly encrypted
  5. Regularly back-up and snapshot data
  6. Make sure critical applications are always accessible
  7. Don’t neglect laptops as according to Gartner, two-thirds of corporate data lives outside the data centre
  8. Maintain three copies of the data, stored on two different kinds of media, with one of them stored offsite
  9. Keep backups off site, in a safe location
  10. Store data in a secure cloud

It is also recommended to work with a trusted Disaster Recovery services provider. This will not only ensure high availability of the data and IT infrastructure, but will also let organizations focus on core activities that require their attention the most.

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