Data can be one of the most valuable assets a business has. The impact of lost business data can range from a few hours restoration, through to complete closure of the business.
Planning for data loss is an essential element of your continuation of business (COB) plan. All businesses need to have a process in place for restoring and accessing their data in the event of an event that destroys all or part of their resources.
How do businesses lose data?
Although we often talk about ‘disaster planning’, data loss can occur for a number of reasons. Actual ‘disasters’ such as fire or water damage are just one possible way data can be lost. Other reasons for data loss include:
- User errors
- Hardware failure
- Security breaches
- Viruses and malware
- Loss or theft of devices
- Software errors
- Data leakage
- Errors resulting from hardware and software updates/upgrade
- Natural disasters – fire, water damage etc
Businesses can do a lot to prevent temporary data loss but with around 22 million new malware samples identified in the first quarter of 2017 (source: G Data Security Blog), it is simply not possible to prevent every occurrence.
How common is data loss?
An average of 10.4 million records are exposed or swiped every day, according to digital security company Gemalto’s Breach Level Index. During the first half of 2017, more data records were leaked or stolen (1.9 billion) than for the whole of 2016 (1.37 billion).
After the US, the UK had the second highest number of reported incidents. 28,331,861 data records were compromised in the UK in the first half of 2017 (an increase of 130 per cent compared to the first half of 2016). Whilst half the incidents in the UK were attributable to a malicious outsider, a worrying 38 per cent were due to accidental loss.
The above figures are likely to be just the tip of the iceberg since they only consider publicly disclosed data breaches. With the new GDPR coming into force next year (which introduce more stringent requirements regarding the reporting of data breaches), the number of breaches is likely to increase dramatically.
What happens to businesses who lose their data?
There are really just two possibilities when it comes to data loss and this depends on whether the data is recoverable or not.
If the data is fully recoverable, the impact of the temporary data loss will depend on how long restoring the data will take and at what expense. Cyber security company Symantec notes that more than one-fifth of businesses estimate recovering their would take three days or longer. How many businesses can afford to shut down for three days? (Symantec, ‘Avoiding the Hidden Costs of the Cloud’)
If the data is not recoverable – for example, because it was not backed up or it has been deleted from all sources, the question is whether the Company can continue to function without the data. 25% of SMEs do not survive a critical data loss. If you experienced a major data loss (for example, your customer database), what impact would this have on your business? If you tried to manually recover some or all of the data based on paper records, how long would this take and at what cost?
The impact on the business itself is not the only consideration. Data breaches can impact your customers, and with the introduction of the GDPR next year, businesses could be looking at severe fines for breaches – particularly where they cannot demonstrate that they did everything to prevent the data loss.
An enterprise-class backup solution that manages all of your data across your whole business is a must. We have partnered with the UK’s leading Digital Services Provider to bring you a highly affordable user-centric solution which requires no up-front investment and works on a pay-for-what-you-use price plan. Click here or call us today on 01623 687750 or email email@example.com to find out more.