Common Causes of Data Loss

Data loss is a serious problem for businesses and home users alike. Not only can it be incredibly costly, there’s a chance that irreplaceable data will be lost forever.

One of the biggest causes of data loss our data recovery team see is plain, old-fashioned human error. Human beings aren’t infallible, and it’s easy to make mistakes. Files can easily be deleted without thinking, glasses of water knocked onto laptops, hard drives accidentally formatted, and links containing malicious software opened accidentally, to name a few. For businesses, an important measure to limit data loss from human error is ensure employees are properly trained in data handling. This can be as simple as making people check if the files they’re modifying are backed up automatically or not. Having a solid backup policy is crucial for both businesses and personal users to limit the effects of data loss.

Viruses, malware and hackers are among the biggest culprits when it comes to data loss. The threat can range from individuals trying to cause as much trouble as possible or to show off their skills, to sophisticated cybercriminals who target companies to exhort money. Ransomware is one of the biggest digital threats facing businesses today. Ransomware is a type of malware that infects systems and blocks access to the data within them by encrypting it. The only way for the user to get access to their data is to pay a hefty price for the decryption key, which might not work anyway. You then have two choices – pay up, or lose your data. Backing up is the best form of protection against all data loss, including ransomware, and if your business’s data changes on a frequent, day by day basis, daily backups are crucial. For home users, something like twice a month is probably sufficient. Human error is behind a lot of ransomware attacks succeeding, typically due to a dodgy piece of software being downloaded, or a fake link in an email clicked. You should have a decent anti-virus software installed to protect against malware threats; Barracuda’s Advanced Threat Protection is a good one.

Physical hardware malfunctions account for well over half of the devices our data recovery team see day-in, day-out, with hard drives being the most common. Hard drives are the most fragile parts of computers, due to them containing moving parts. Hard drives don’t last forever, and will eventually fail with time. But once again – you guessed it – human error is a common cause of hard drive failure. A knock or a bump could cause the read/write heads to crash onto the magnetic platters below – also known as a head crash. Water can fry the internal circuitry of a hard drive. Storing some media, particularly flash-based devices, in the wrong conditions, can cause data loss.

Unfortunately, one problem we can’t deal with is the theft of someone’s computer or laptop – which is why backing up your data is so important!

Data Recovery