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6 Common Reasons for Data Loss & How To Resolve It

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IT Security

6 Common Reasons for Data Loss & How To Resolve It

Data loss is not just an inconvenience; it can actually put you out of business.  The time to think about it is before, not after, a critical incident. As leading providers of IT support in Denver, we’ve seen our fair share of data loss disasters, so we want to provide you with the insight we’ve learned through experience so you, hopefully, won’t have to.

We’ve listed a number of common causes for data loss to watch out for. While there are best practices you can employ to prevent data loss, unfortunately, some scenarios, such as natural disasters, can’t be avoided. The solution to data loss in all cases is performing regular backups managed by experienced technicians using dependable technology.

1. Human Error

This is perhaps the most common reason for data loss – a user thought something was backed up and accidentally deleted it. More often than not, backup systems that haven’t been tested recent turn out to be unreliable, so data cannot be recovered because the systems you thought were in place to prevent data loss haven’t been kept up to date.

Another big problem regarding human error and data loss is non-technical personnel attempting to install a driver or modify settings in the the motherboard BIOS. These configurations require a lot of experience. When they are misconfigured, unexpected results can occur leading to loss of data. In order to prevent this, it’s worth the money and energy to partner with an IT expert to help you manage your data.

2. Viruses and Ransomware

Any computer connected to the Internet should have some form of virus protection. When you are on the internet, it is very easy for a virus to attach itself to your computer and remain hidden for months or even years.  At any time it can take partial or total control over the computer, stealing or corrupting data and creating numerous bad side effects, including complete data loss.

Ransomware has the potential to destroy large amounts of data, especially if its demands for ransom is not satisfied.

3. Hard Drive Crash

Although hard drives are great for storing massive amounts of data, the name can seem misleading because the physical technology is actually extremely sensitive. Inside, the drive looks like an old phonograph (for those old enough to remember). Like a fragile “needle” riding on the spinning record, the drive’s head must not bounce on the media or it will destroy itself and the data, too. An older disk drive organizes its data into sectors. It has software that marks bad sectors and avoids writing data to those parts of the disk. Over time, more sectors can become bad, and even if the disk drive notices this, you can still experience data loss. It may start out as a file here or there, but over time a failing drive may start losing hundreds, or thousands, of files. Of course, if a drive is physically dropped, it could lose all of its data at once.

Solid state drives are more reliable, but also more expensive. At the very least, you want to have an expert keeping an eye on your hardware so that you can upgrade, repair, or replace when the time comes and prevent a massive loss for your business.

4. Old Firmware

Firmware is often stored in a type of memory that retains its data when there is no power.  Flash memory, for example, is considered read-only, but the entire volume can be electronically erased and reprogrammed. Firmware is not upgraded often, but when it is, the entire set of code is replaced.

Companies release new versions of firmware to improve quality or fix bugs.  However, keeping it up-to-date is one of the most neglected maintenance procedures in the IT space today – even though old firmware can cause data loss and even crashes.  Firmware can also contain the worst viruses and ransomware.

Firmware exists in all types of hardware, including disk drives, routers, USB drives, and consumer devices such as televisions and phones. Be sure that you are regularly maintaining your firmware to prevent the negative effects of data loss.

5. Corrupt Data

Software is complicated, and when configuration settings get corrupted, all kinds of bad things happen. Programs stop booting, or hang indefinitely.  What’s frustrating is that sometimes they partially work for a long time so you may not even realize that there is a more serious, underlying problem.

Modern software is interconnected through a vast infrastructure of libraries and subsystems.  The result is that data can easily become corrupted for no apparent reason. The solution is to reset the configuration, or reinstall the software, and technicians often perform this type of maintenance. 

6. Lost or Stolen Equipment

Sometimes the data on the device is worth much more than the device itself. This is why all critical data must be regularly backed up to a reliable destination. Too often companies don’t appreciate the importance and complexity of adequately backing up large quantities of critical data and storing this information in a secure, secondary location.

Prevent Data Loss With An IT Pro

Keeping track of the best practices that prevent data loss can be a lot to manage, especially when you’re busy running your own organization. Enlist the help of an IT expert to help you protect your data and ensure your business doesn’t suffer from the negative effects of data loss. Learn more about the data protection options from Analytics Computers here.

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