A case for backing up: A chilling message appears on your computer screen: Ooops, your files have been encrypted! You receive a request for a hefty ransom, payable in Bitcoin, in order to liberate the files on your network. When you call a cyber security specialist, who asks a simple question. “is your data backed up?” You answer, “I think so.”
The unfortunate reality is that many organisations lack adequate data backup. Therefore, making them vulnerable to catastrophic events. For example, as ransomware attacks. Given how inexpensive data storage has become, organisations needn’t fear the cost of backing up their data properly. In this article, we present the case for backing up. In addition, the article identifies the major causes of data loss and provides a simple way forward.
Major causes of data loss
It’s estimated that hardware failures account for 40 per cent of all data losses. A faulty Hard Disk Drive (HDD) in a computer or server is usually the culprit. As HDDs age, their moving parts weaken and become susceptible to malfunction and failure. Physical shocks, dust and moisture can be damaging to HDDs. Unfortunately, Solid State Drives (SSDs) don’t fare any better over time (due to their limited lifespan).
Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and destructive. As well as widespread. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), “11% of businesses reported internet security incidents or breaches” in 2017-18.* Many cyberattacks involve malicious software (malware) that seeks to steal, manipulate or destroy data. For instance, the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017. This cyberattack caused data loss and affected over 200,000 computers.
* 2017-18 Business Characteristics Survey (BCS)
“11% of businesses reported internet security incidents or breaches”
Power failures, surges and brownouts
It’s difficult to avoid power failures, surges and brownouts. A hard drive exposed to a serious power fluctuation (increase or decrease in voltage) can malfunction or have its data corrupted. Surge suppressors may protect computer systems. However, a hard drive can still be damaged during a sudden power outage if the system doesn’t shut down and reboot properly.
Laptop computers are popular targets for both professional and amateur thieves. For instance, in June 2019 thieves broke into the University of Western Australia and stole a number of laptops. The laptops contained a variety of student data. Data included tax file numbers (TFNs) and passport numbers.* In another incident, thieves stole computer equipment belonging to Specsavers from a Queensland storage facility in May 2019. In addition to the equipment being taken, customer data was also stolen.**
* IT News, 28 July 2019
** Insight News (Australia’s leading ophthalmic magazine), 26 June 2019
In cases of data loss involving network administration, human error plays a major role. Data can be permanently lost during Operating System upgrades, system file alterations and registry setting changes If precautions aren’t taken. Even powerful data recovery tools can fail to recover and restore the data.
Fire and water damage
Fires, floods and storms have the ability to destroy or damage computer equipment. For instance, the Brisbane floods of 2011 wreaked havoc in a number of business precincts. A survey conducted by the CCIQ found that two in five affected businesses had office furniture and equipment damaged in the floods.*
* Impact of the Queensland floods on business, Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland (CCIQ), February 2011
The way forward
In conclusion, the key to reducing risk is to be proactive. The simplest and cheapest way to avoid data loss is to have adequate backup. Backing up your data needn’t cost the earth. Simple remedies can be part of a wider 3-2-1 strategy that protects your data. For example, backing up to the cloud or installing a NAS,
DC Encompass provides data storage, online backup and tape backup solutions. Need help getting started? DC Encompass provides a complimentary risk assessment service, identifying high-level gaps and vulnerabilities in your current backup system. The assessment also touches on cybersecurity and Disaster Recovery (DR). For more information call the friendly team at DC Encompass on 1300 002 112.