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What Causes Data Loss? And How to Prevent It

December 17, 2018
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Looking at statistics for actual and potential business data loss in the UK, it really hits home the very real prospect of losing reputation, customers and income, all by simply overlooking the risks, and the impact, of data loss.


Disaster recovery statistics

A study of over 500 UK businesses, conducted by Beaming revealed some pretty shocking numbers on data backup and data loss.

  • Well over 50% of UK businesses risk losing critical data
  • Nearly 4 million businesses put their very existence in danger by having inadequate backup strategies
  • A staggering 700,000+ businesses have no strategy at all

Looking into it further and disaster recovery statistics stay consistently scary, making it clear how many businesses don’t have an understanding on how vulnerable they really are.

Interestingly, multiple findings show:

  1. Sole traders and businesses with fewer than 10 employees are the worst ‘offenders’
  2. Up to 20% of sole traders admit to not backing up at all
  3. 2% of businesses with between 50 and 249 employees also have no backup
  4. Beaming’s survey indicated nearly 50% of respondents have no off-site or cloud back-up strategy – opting for only an on-site approach


What causes data loss?

Data loss can occur a multitude of ways, from human error to virus attacks. Data loss statistics and figures from business2community, suggest these are some of the most common ways in which data is lost are:

  • 50% – Hardware or system malfunction
  • 44% – Accidental deletion, software crashes / issues
  • 35% – Malware virus infections
  • 17% – Software corruption
  • 14% – Virus attacks
  • 11% – Human error

The underlying message here is that a robust and reliable backup strategy must factor in multiple causes to be effective against data loss. This is especially important when we consider that over 33% of lost data is, or includes, customer information and financial information, which can be hugely damaging to business continuity, reputation and income.


The cost of data loss

It’s perhaps hard to gauge the financial cost of data loss, but in 2014 it cost UK businesses a total of £10.5 billion, suggesting the best policy is to plan for the worst-case scenario.

Both Uber and TalkTalk did not see these massive fines coming their way after they were the subjects of malicious data theft:

Uber paid £133 million to settle all legal actions after a 2016 cyber-attack exposed data from 57 million customers and drivers.

Another cyber-attack cost TalkTalk a £400,000 fine in 2015, for security failings that saw 157,000 customers’ personal data going AWOL.

Of course, the big players can maybe take the hit, but they’d prefer not to have too. For the majority of businesses, taking the hit isn’t an option, which is why as many as 7 of 10 small firms that experience major data loss go out of business within a year. There are also less quantifiable effects, such as reputational damage, recovery costs and staff morale.


Data loss prevention

Considering all the ways data loss can affect a business, it’s good to know there are excellent ways to prevent it. Depending on the size and nature of your business, truly effective data loss prevention can take many forms.

A simple and relatively inexpensive way is to invest in cloud-based data loss prevention that matches how your business collects, creates and stores its data. Such solutions are ideal for small business data backup.

You might also want to consider at the very least implementing an off-site data backup strategy to protect against power outages and/or on-site hardware failures.

Whichever you opt for, it should be the foundation of a comprehensive data recovery plan – part of your business continuity and disaster recovery strategies.


What next?

Now you’ve read about the risks you’re taking with your personal, business and financial data, it’s time to protect your revenue, reputation and staff. With BackupVault you can focus on your business while we protect you from having to reset your entire life. We will also make it easy for you to set up and manage.

Give it a try.

With BackupVault you’ve got nothing to lose.

Start with our no-catch 14-day free trial.

Or if you’d prefer to talk to a real person here in the UK, call us on 020 3102 0040.

We promise there are no support queues and no automated phone systems!