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Is your business under threat from data loss?

By Will Stevens - February 15, 2016

What would happen to your business if you lost all of your data? If you don’t know, then the chances are that your company would struggle to recover from a loss of data. In fact, research shows that 90% of businesses that suffer data loss close their doors within two years and a further study from 70% of small firms that experience major data loss go out of business within 12 months.

It sounds dramatic, but when you consider the potential impact of such an event it becomes clear just how disruptive it can be. How would you cope, for example, if you lost access to the details of all your customers and the orders they’d placed? It’s a nightmare scenario, but it’s not an impossible one. So how can you go about preventing data loss?

back up service

Look after your tech

This means ensuring that computer equipment is stored safely when it’s not in use. You should also do everything you can to avoid potential accidents when you are using your computer. Eliminate as many accident risks as possible. For example, don’t stretch your laptop’s power cord across an area through which someone is likely to walk, even if that someone is you. Tripping over that cord could send your laptop crashing to the ground, putting your data at risk.

You also need to take steps to minimise theft. That means not leaving your devices unattended when you’re working in a public place and taking care not to leave them on display at home. You also need to protect your devices from non-physical threats – that is hackers and viruses. Always have an up to date anti-virus package installed and password protect sensitive documents. You can learn more about staying safe online in this guide.

Create a solid business continuity plan

We started this piece by asking you what would happen if you lost all your data. The only way you can answer it fully is by developing a business continuity plan. A comprehensive plan will cover every scenario that has the potential to damage your business. That could be everything from your computer’s hard drive being damaged in a fall, to a natural disaster which disrupts your supply chain. It may seem slightly ridiculous to consider how a severe storm could damage your business, but it’s crucial to develop a way of handling the unexpected. In fact, research by the British Insurance Brokers’ Association shows that half of small businesses in Britain don’t have a plan to handle an event that has the potential to disrupt their operations. This is despite the fact that around 50% of owners said it would take less than a day for a serious disruption to have a significant impact on their business.

By planning for a major incident, whatever form it takes, you’ll be less likely to become one of the 90% of businesses that fail two years after experiencing data loss.

Back up

Research from the Contingency Planning and Strategic Research Corporation found that 96% of business workstations aren’t being backed up, and if you lose data and it isn’t backed up, then it’s gone for good. While it is possible in some circumstances to recover data from a damaged hard drive, it’s not a risk you’ll want to take. Likewise, if a device is stolen the police might one day recover it, but it could take months and even then your data may no longer be intact.