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What are the Causes of Data Loss?

Data loss is one of the most severe issues any company can face. It’s an incident where an organization faces the loss, destruction, or corruption of their data, rendering said information unusable or irrecoverable. The reasons for data loss are many. Some fall on the side of human responsibility, while others are due to technical reasons.

In this blog post, you’ll discover the most common cause of data loss and how to prevent it. Not everything falls on you as a user, but you can be proactive to mitigate such an incident. Stay one step ahead by following basic guidelines such as email security best practices, password hygiene, and other measures.

 

Human Error

The most common cause of data loss is human error; that’s why it takes the top spot on our list. One of the main reasons for data loss is a misplaced keystroke at any given moment.

Even a mundane action like drinking your daily coffee while working can turn into losing company data if you’re not careful enough. Yes, liquid spillage is one of the top causes of data loss. Non-optimized workflows and improper information storage are another reason for data loss.

 

Theft

Another one of the most common causes of data loss is theft. Losing your devices like work laptops, USB flashes, or even mobile phones can result in massive issues. This is when the importance of data loss prevention rears its head. The only way to safekeep your stolen data is with backup files on the cloud or separate hard drives.

The best way to prevent data loss due to theft is by installing security software, using hard-to-guess passwords, and using multi-factor authentication on all your devices. Sensitive information on a stolen device can prove to be of high value, making theft a high-risk reason for data loss and a threat of data breach.

 

Software Corruption

Software getting corrupted is a common cause of data loss for many companies. It can happen due to outages or a failed data transfer. Massive data transfers can backfire if your files are already corrupted and picked up by your antivirus system. Keeping your system updated is one of the ways to prevent data loss.

Data conversion is yet another common reason for data loss due to software corruption. This negatively impacts the software you’re working with if not converted correctly or if you haven’t saved a copy of the file beforehand. You can prevent this scenario by ensuring you’re working with compatible, updated versions of software and keeping backup files.

 

Computer Viruses

If you’re looking for common causes of data loss, you can’t underestimate the power of viruses. A virus is a piece of malware programmed to steal, delete, or even encrypt your device’s data. Ask any security company, “what are the causes of data loss?” you’ll be pointed to some form of a virus as the cause.

Viruses and malware are high-risk reasons for data loss, with the potential to wreck a company’s operations for  prolonged periods. The way viruses attack is diverse. Most of them access their targets through an email or a website loaded with malicious software. The most solid defense against these threats is a powerful antivirus program and regular system and file backups.

 

Hardware Impairment

One of the most common causes of data loss is damaged hardware. This happens for several reasons. On one hand, we have the human factor, with people mishandling hard drives through improper connection or exposing their moving parts to extreme conditions. You can also damage your storage device if you introduce it to corrupt data. 

Then there’s the time factor playing its role. Hard drives or storing devices can be damaged by constant overheating. Sections of a hard drive can become corrupted with time, rendering it unable to store data and losing already stored information. One of the components of data loss solutions is checking your hardware for any damage.

 

Natural Disasters

What is the most common cause of data loss? Natural disasters are the last thing to come to mind. However, according to the US National Archives and Records Administration, 80% of companies without a data protection plan go out of business two years after being hit by a natural disaster. 

Don’t undermine the power of nature when it comes to data protection. Floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. can affect your infrastructure and operability. If you can afford to have backups of your data in a separate location to your base of operation, you’ll be able to keep the lights on even after being hit.

 

Power Failure

A power outage is a common data loss reason. A power shutdown without warning causes various problems. You can lose data that hasn’t been saved. Data in the process of being saved can also get corrupted, and existing files can be affected since sudden power shutdowns can impact your hard drives and systems. 

Restarting your systems after a power outage means you have to wait until everything is functional to learn about the scope of damage. There’s very little you can do to prevent a power outage other than having a backup generator in place to keep the systems running. You can also make sure your systems have the autosave feature to safekeep your data in case of power loss.

 

Final Thoughts

For many companies, data is the fuel that keeps their engines running. Many organizations will do whatever it takes to keep their data safe. Still, some neglect the best practices described on our blog. Data loss is a preventable issue. It requires prep work, foresight, and good measuring of the value of data in your company.

After reading this blog, you know the most common causes of data loss and how to deal with them. Be one step ahead of data loss to keep your business running.

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