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The Most Common Data Loss Scenarios & How to Prevent?

Data loss is one of the most irritating situations and unpleasant experiencewhile using a stuck laptop, Hardware failure or software corruption. We often lose all the most important files at the least expected moment because of damage to the medium on which they are saved (usually our computer’s hard drive). If the disk is physically damaged, the matter becomes serious, as recovery data from such a medium is associated with high costs and does not guarantee that we will recover all the time.

Most Common Data Loss Scenarios

1. Accidental deletion

This is the most common cause of data loss, whether it is done knowingly or not. If you delete data from your computer, but you immediately realize your mistake, the situation is less dramatic. However, there are cases when data is lost unknowingly. For example, you delete an important file, and other data you wanted to get rid of, or another team member of the company deletes the files, considering them invalid. In this case, you only learn about the loss of information when you want to use it, often several months after its removal.

How to prevent such situations?

  1. If the data is only on your computer, it is good to delete it first from the trash. Such data can always be restored. Unfortunately, this practice does not work when the files are large enough that the system does not allow them to be placed in the recycle bin.
  2. Use professional backup software that will enable you to create the so-called data retention policies. For example, an example policy might include keeping all backups for the last month. Additionally, all monthly copies for 12 months and one yearly copy. To choose the right retention policy, you should perform at least a simplified classification of information.

2. Hardware failure

Computer hardware failure is a prosaic but common cause of data loss. Especially in a business environment, it can have serious consequences, especially for data hosted on servers.

The most severe consequences for information security have a failure of a data carrier, e.g. hard drives. If you do not have a backup system, and the lost information is of great importance for the company’s functioning in which you work, then you have two options.

  • Recover information from memory or collect residual data. However, such an operation is time-consuming, and the restored data is usually of lower quality than the original ones.
  • Recover data through a professional lab. If data is lost due to a standard hardware failure, the efficiency of this operation is usually high. However, the cost of data recovery most often exceeds the price of a professional backup system and is time-consuming.

Recovering information becomes less problematic if a server/computer component other than the hard drive fails. If you are only interested in files, and the disk was not encrypted, the IT specialist will quickly recover them and transfer them to other working equipment. The situation becomes more complicated in the case of databases, e.g. accounting programs, ERP, etc., or program servers.

How to prevent such situations?

  1. If the computer allows it, use RAID arrays (other than RAID 0), which immunizes the system against a single hard disk failure. Due to the achieved performance and reliability, the best solution is to use hardware RAID controllers.
  2. Check the service life of hard drives and replace them before they expire – apart from the power supply. Data carriers are the most vulnerable elements of computer hardware. Regardless of whether you have disk drives (HDD) or solid-state drives (SSD) – each has its lifetime, which is the average number of reading and write operations until failure.
  3. Use server operating systems virtualization – this type of solution enables speedy data recovery of individual files and entire operating systems.

3. Computer Criminal Attacks and Viruses

No antivirus will fully protect your computer against various types of viruses. Moreover, computer criminals also use social engineering activities to steal your data or make you pay a ransom.

A classic example of this is when the computer hard drive is encrypted so that the files stored there become unusable. This is a true story, one of many security partners have encountered.

How to prevent such situations?

  • Using an antivirus program is a sine qua non for computer security. Commercial antivirus programs are often over 99% effective. In most cases, this will protect your computer equipment from being infected with a virus.
  • Be suspicious – social engineering attacks designed to convince you to download a virus voluntarily or to take other actions, such as phishing, are becoming more frequent and very effective.
  • Backup data and servers, establish correct data retention.

Final Words

One should not forget such mundane issues as keeping the operating system up-to-date, antivirus and anti-spam protection of workstations. Many of these solutions are available free as an add-on to the operating system. Keeping the software up-to-date on your computer can do much more than a sophisticated security system that will protect the archaic version of your computer’s operating system.

Data loss is one of the significant inconveniences for information-driven businesses as it disrupts their daily functions. Losing important files or information means loss of income. Rapid digitization and increased mobility can bring many benefits but at the same time expand the landscape of threats and vulnerabilities.

Check out: Common Network Security Vulnerabilities In 2021

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