The loss of data in your corporate environment, can be like flipping a 2 headed coin and calling ‘Tails’.  No matter which ‘Head’ comes up….you lose.   Data loss for the purpose of this article is defined as the permanent unforeseen loss of data or information.  The definition of the 2 heads of the coin can be viewed as– loss due to unforeseen destruction of the data, or – loss of data due to a security breach.

Data Loss The two headed dilemma

Unforeseen destruction of Data –

There are 3 reasons where your organization has unforeseen destruction of data;

  • poor handling of the data
  • defects in the manufacture of the data storage device, or
  • a disaster type incident (fire, flood, etc).

Poor handling can be linked to everything from accumulated dirt within the device that stores the data, to electro-static discharge, to the failure of an HVAC system to maintain a constant cool temperature.   No matter what the reason, important data that was there a minute ago is now gone.  If no copy of the lost data exists, the loss of the data can be devastating to your business.    

Security Data Breach –

The other reason for data loss, which unfortunately is occurring with increased frequency, is categorized as a breach of security.   The loss of a laptop, thumb drive, or other media is considered a security breach data loss.    Also include in this category is the introduction of a virus into your system or worse,  an attack by a hacker where data to diverted away from your environment a security breach, even a disgruntled employee gaining access to confidential information and selling it or using it against the organization

Consequences

The loss of business due to an unforeseen data loss or a security breach can be permanent.   The publicity alone can have a devastating aftershock.  Data that is destroyed AND then  unrecoverable is seen within any industry as poor business process.    Loss of supplier contracts and consumer confidence is most likely evident.

Now consider that while you may have the same devastating business loss as you suffered above, with a data breach, you may now have additional, and expensive responsibilities.  If the data that was lost is considered confidential and consumer related, it is considered a Security Data Breach which may require your organization to conform to any number of Data Breach Notification Laws or risk federal or state penalties.   The notification process is very expensive; current estimates are over $200.00 per account lost, and penalties and fines are starting to increase to unrecoverable amounts.

Ways to Prevent Data Loss

The most economical way to prevent the permanent loss of data is to have a back-up of that data.  This can be accomplished not only easily, but relatively inexpensively.  Newer technologies have made not just the creation, but also the storage of duplicate data cheaper than it’s ever been.  Although many organizations continue to create back-up tapes every day and move those tapes off-site, the electronic vaulting of data or even full replication of the data is now easier than its ever been.  It is also proving to be a more reliable recovery method.

Another way to help prevent data loss is by maintaining a clean environment for your corporate servers, disk arrays, and other storage devices.  The accumulation of particles on your storage devices never has a good outcome.  So similar to how you make sure your kitchen counter clean before you prepare food, always make sure the area where you store your data is clean and secure

To help prevent a security breach, various appliances and software solutions are available, everything from encryption to biometics may be used.  The trick here is to make sure that the end user is comfortable using the solution and can easily adapt to it.

Having reliable security controls in place will also help reduce the risk of sensitive data being removed without your knowledge.  Creating corporate policies and communicating them to your customers and employees will assist in the education of how important your organization takes the securing of it critical data.

For more information on data loss please visit us at www.continuitycompliance.org

Written by Lisa

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