Losing valuable information is an unfortunate reality many organisations throughout Australia have to contend with on a yearly basis. Such incidents can not only hinder a business’s ability to deliver quality services but also disparage its reputation in the market.
Due to the hazards associated with data loss, public and private entities must employ disaster recovery and business continuity strategies that mitigate the impact of such events. Understanding the causes of lost, stolen or corrupted data empowers personnel with the ability to apply specific protocols applicable to each vulnerability. Three of these factors are listed below:
1. Human error
Whether it involves mishandling passwords or executing an improper command, mistakes tend to account for a large portion of data loss issues. Last year, UK-based company Databarracks surveyed 404 IT leaders across 19 industries, inquiring as to how they intended to position IT services over the next 12 months.
Nearly one quarter (24 per cent) of respondents pointed to human error as the leading cause of data loss incidents. Cisco’s study of 2,000 business professionals complemented this data, showing that misuse of passwords and company machines introduce information protection risks.
In fact, 44 per cent of those who responded to Cisco’s survey maintained that they had shared business devices without supervision. This introduces a number of risks. For example, there’s no way for an administrator to ensure someone borrowing a corporate machine is accessing secure websites or applications.
It’s not surprising that cyberattacks ranked as one of the top causes of data loss in businesses that possess highly sensitive information, especially those operating in the health care sector. The Ponemon Institute’s Fifth Annual Benchmark Study on Privacy & Security of Healthcare Data found that criminal attacks were the No. 1 cause of data breaches for the first time since the company’s original report.
The Ponemon Institute discovered that, since 2010, cyberattacks have increased 125 per cent. Almost half (45 per cent) of survey participants noted that the primary cause of data loss were incidents rooted in criminal motivations. Alarmingly, 12 per cent of respondents noted that malicious insiders initiated those attacks.
How can organisations prevent cyberattackers from getting the best of them? The institute advised companies to procure more IT security technologies. Less than half (49 per cent) of health care businesses maintained they had the necessary solutions.
3. Hardware failures
Despite the prevalence of data centre environmental control strategies, hardware failures still lead to data loss. Kroll Ontrack, an information protection consultancy based in the US, surveyed 1,066 of its customers on which factors impacted their information protection efforts. More than half, (66 per cent) of study participants cited hardware failures as the root of data losses.
Somewhat surprisingly, 29 per cent of Kroll Ontrack customers cited this as a problem in 2009. One would assume that hardware has improved over the past seven years, so what’s leading to hardware damage?
It’s possible that some companies are not employing sound server management strategies. Kroll Ontrack Manager of Data Recovery Operations Jeff Pederson explained that hard disk drives (HDDs) account for the majority of failures.
“Storage media fails regardless of type; it is just a matter of when. This fact, coupled with the fact that HDDs are still the most prevalent drive is why HDD crashes have and continue to be the most common cause of data loss,” said Mr Pederson.
Data loss doesn’t originate from one particular vulnerability. Such issues arise from multiple places, which therefore requires multifaceted data recovery strategies. Addressing a wide variety of problem areas is the key to reducing the severity of information losses.