It doesn’t matter the size of your business, suffering from a data loss and losing critical files essential to your business takes time and money to restore and recover. Data loss happens whenever data is accidentally deleted or data becomes corrupted. Physical damage, viruses, or formatting errors can cause your files and information to be unreadable by both humans and software. Data loss usually has a lasting impact on the financial health of your website and company.
Luckily, some types of lost data are recoverable. This process usually requires professional assistance and costs time and money that may have been previously budgeted for other areas of your business. Minimising the potential loss of information starts with fully understanding what causes data loss in the first place. In this article, we’ll look at data, what causes data loss, how data loss affects your website and what to do to prevent it.
What is Data?
The term Data refers to both structured and unstructured information in the form of files, documents, images etc. that business and websites use on a day-to-day basis. You can analyse data for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves.
Organisations are now utilising, sharing and storing more information in varying formats, including:
- Email and instant Messaging
- Collaborative Intranets and Extranets
- Public websites, and blogs
- Social media platforms
- Video and audio files
Regardless of how big or small your business or website is you have to protect your data.
What causes Data Loss?
Imagine spending months or years working on your website so that you can best represent your brand online, only to one day, find that you are unable to access several files that are critical to the smooth running or your business online. This is every website and business owner’s nightmare-losing data that’s vital to the running of a website and/or business.
So what really causes individuals and businesses to lose information? Below we look at the common issues that usually result in data loss.
1. Human Errors
You’d probably be surprised to learn that one of the top reasons websites go offline and information is lost is because of human error. Two kinds of human errors usually result in data loss one is by accidentally clicking the Delete or Format button and the second is by damaging a storage device by accident. To mitigate against these:
- Be cautious when deleting files so you don’t get rid of files critical to your website or business
- Be careful in where and how you store hard-drives and other hardware
2. Computer Viruses and Malware
Viruses and malware can slow down your website and even kick it offline completely. This makes it impossible for customers to find you, therefore, not only do you lose customers but revenue as well. Hackers can also steal your website’s information and that of your clients.
3. Hackers and Insiders Breach
Hacking and data breaches is becoming more prominent. Hackers can cause serious damage to your data, by stealing and even deleting several files. With sufficient access to your system, hackers can even damage entire networks.
Unfortunately, sometimes persons who work within the organisation tamper with and steal files and data as well. Ensure you implement different levels of permission for all employees. This will help to prevent insiders from accessing high-level data. Also, always be on the lookout for signs of malicious activity from hackers.
Being vigilant is important, as some data stolen by hackers or insiders might not be recoverable.
4. Hardware or System Malfunction
Sometimes you lose information because of hardware or system malfunctions. Electrical failures, controller failure and servers going down can cause you to lose data as well.
Effects of Data Loss on You Website
Data loss causes major inconvenience that disrupts the day-to-day function of your business and website. That’s because whenever there is a loss of important files and documents you have to spend time and money to recreate or restore these files. This in effect, affects other aspects of your business as well.
Losing data can slow down your website, cause you to go offline, lose clients and revenue and negatively affect your SEO ranking. Here are some other impacts of data loss on your website.
1. Trust and reputation damage
Data loss caused by hacking can damage your business’s reputation or lessen the amount of trust your customers have for your company. That’s because hacking can result in website downtime leaving customers to believe your business is poorly run. This may also result in customers losing trust in your brand, especially if their personal information is tampered with. Whenever sensitive data is compromised or stolen, your company should inform clients. That way you can build trust and respect.
2. Website downtime
If your website’s data are deleted accidentally or by a hacker, you may experience a significant amount of website downtime. Sometimes hackers do this by launching a DDoS, flooding your website with illegitimate requests. However, lengthy website downtime may result in reduced sales especially if you are running an eCommerce store. Learn about strategies to reduce the risks of downtime here.
3. Website cleaning and repair costs
It costs not just time but money as well to recover and restore a website that has suffered a cyberattack. Additionally, data loss can set back productivity timelines significantly, resulting in a loss of customers if accompanied by security breaches.
The Best Ways to Prevent Data Loss
Unfortunately, you may not be able to recover all the information loss. So, the rule of thumb is ‘prevention is better than a cure’. As a result, your company has to put measures in place to prevent data loss as well as systems for backup and recovery should you still unfortunately lose data.
1. Backup your data
It is no surprise that back up and recovery for all your data is at the very top of the list. This is a fail-safe for your website and business. Backup is essential for your website and physical files in the office as well. Backing up your data, simply means always keeping an updated copy of all original data, preferably on a separate disc or server.
Ensure you store backup for actual files stored on the devices at an off-site location. This will help to protect your backup from possible damage from natural disaster, theft or fire.
2. Use anti-virus software
Installing a reliable anti-virus and anti-malware software is essential in preventing viruses and malware from infecting your computer. You should ensure your anti-virus and anti-malware software run properly and effectively by keeping them updated.
3. Keep your computer clean and dry
For data stored on your computers in the office, ensure that they are stored where they aren’t exposed to dust or moisture. This can cause your hard drive to crash or computer to overheat.
4. Control employee access
All employees who work with or have access to company and website data must be receive proper confidentiality training on how data should be shared. It is also in the best interest of your company to control and monitor the individuals who actually have access to different levels of data. This will help to protect your business from accidental or intentional data loss.
All companies generate data. A website is the online branch of your business and should you suffer a data loss, whether online or with the office, it will have a significant impact on your business and website. Not only can it result in a loss of customers, but company reputation and revenue. It’s your job to implement the above mentioned software and tools to prevent data loss.
However, in case of a data loss you should invest in a reliable backup software to safeguard your website and business. Also ensure that your website is hosted by a trusted and reliable web host service provider with top-tier servers that offer speed and high level security.