Every Season is Hurricane Season When it Comes to Protecting Your Data: The Top 3 Causes of Data Loss in Business

July 17, 2019

Hurricane season in the U.S. reminds organizations of all shapes and sizes to review – and test – their IT disaster recovery (DR) plans, from securing temporary office space on higher ground to protecting their most precious commodity, their data.

So there’s that.

The bad news? The greatest threats to your company’s business continuity – including your data – aren’t isolated to July through November. Critical infrastructure can go down any time of year, for reasons ranging from power outages and network failures to security breaches and human error.

Read on for the most common causes of data loss and downtime and what you can do to protect and prepare your IT infrastructure – all year long.

The Top 3 Causes of Data Loss and Downtime

1. Human error

Human error is the top cause for data loss and compromise, as high as 75% according to many reports. And it comes in all forms, from failure to properly delete data from devices to weak passwords and poorly managed data access. While the majority of companies report providing employee training around data security, a 2018 study by security awareness training company MediaPRO found that 30% of employees surveyed represented a “considerable risk” to their organizations.

2. Ransomware and viruses

As data protection gets more sophisticated, so too do those bad actors intent on stealing your data and disrupting your business operations. Whether it's a DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) or a ransomware situation, cyber threats are evolving at light speed to counter the latest security measures. A new study by Cybersecurity Ventures found that a new organization will fall victim to ransomware every 14 seconds in 2019 – and every 11 seconds by 2021. As an old security colleague of mine is fond of saying, “There are two types of companies – those that have been breached and those that don’t know they’ve been breached!”.

3. Natural disasters

Increasingly volatile weather events due to climate change are putting businesses and their data at higher risk, from hurricanes and floods to tornadoes, fires and lightning. Consider the numbers:

  • The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions predicts a 45-87% increase in Category 4 and Category 5 hurricanes, with an average wind speed increase of 2-11%.
  • Rainfall is up 20%, increasing risk and severity of flooding. Flooding can cause emergency systems to fail – and prevent staff from getting to their data centers.
  • For every degree in Celsius rise in global average air temperature, lightning strikes will increase by about 12%. While lightning is often characterized by its unlikelihood, one of Google’s data centers was struck by lightning four times in 2015, resulting in permanent loss of some customer data.

Don’t be scared, be prepared

Critical infrastructure can go down any time of year, but you can avoid data loss with proper planning and a disaster recovery partner. Read on for Blog 2 in this 5-part series on disaster recovery, “Balancing Data Resiliency with Data Recovery.”

Craig Cook, Flexential

Craig Cook

SVP, Solutions Architecture and Engineering

As SVP of Solutions Architecture & Engineering at Flexential, Craig understands the challenges that Flexential customers face and designs solutions to solve their ever-evolving business problems.

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