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How Small Business Owners Can Recover Lost Business Data

May 22, 2019

Keeping your business data safe should be a priority, and every business should have recovery procedures in place in case of data loss. Learn how your business can recover lost data.

In the 21st century, digital data is the lifeblood of almost every business. Lost business data poses a potentially expensive problem.

According to the Ponemon Institute, the cost of a data breach in 2018 averages $148 per record. The percentage of companies affected by a data loss of at least 10,000 records is 27.9%.

Cleverfiles’ team of professionals with more than 10 years of experience of data recovery helps individuals and businesses recover their lost files, photos, or videos and even whole partitions.

In this article, you will learn why and how to back up, protect, and efficiently recover your critical business documents and files.

Here are some key points I will cover in this piece:

  1. Common causes of data loss
  2. The business impact of data loss
  3. The importance of regular backups
  4. Methods for recovering lost data

Common Causes of Data Loss

It is imperative that measures are in place to protect your business data. Equally essential is developing a plan of recovery solutions that can be enacted in the event of a data loss event.

Data loss can occur due to a variety of reasons. Identifying the specific cause of the loss can help prevent future recurrences and may influence your ability to successfully recover the data.

You can experience a data loss event due to:

  • Malicious software: Viruses and malware can lead to data loss in a couple of different ways. Data can be deleted from your computers and storage devices by destructive malware, which is only intended to cause damage. The specter of ransomware poses the danger of having your data held for ransom by those behind the malware.
  • Human error: There are literally thousands of ways that human error can be the cause of data loss. Accidentally overwriting files, deleting important partitions, and “pushing the red button” are a few that come to mind. As long as your data is exposed to humans, this risk will persist. Proper training can help minimize the number of data-loss events attributable to human error.
  • Theft: Data loss and potential data breaches can be the result of theft. The rise of mobile devices has tremendously increased this threat. A large majority of computer and mobile device theft occurs outside the office, highlighting the need for employees to secure any devices that hold business data when traveling or away from the office.
  • Physical damage: This can be caused by factors as diverse as floods, earthquakes, or overheated storage devices. In the end, you are faced with the prospect of attempting to recover as much data as you can from the damaged devices.
  • Software upgrades: Occasionally, a software upgrade will result in a data loss. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you back up your data before performing an upgrade.
  • Unauthorized intruders: Similarly to malware, the presence of unauthorized users can spell trouble in the form of data breaches or deletions and data loss. Maintaining high security standards will help protect you from threats of this nature.

Regardless of the underlying causes of your data loss, its effects can have serious repercussions to your company and its customers.

The Business Impact of Data Loss

Data loss can negatively affect your business in a myriad of ways. These encompass financial damage as well as more subtle damages to your company:

  • Recovery costs: There is an inevitable cost of recovering your data even if you use free file-recovery tools. Time will need to be spent recovering data that could be better used in a more value-added endeavor.
  • Productivity losses: Systems impacted by the data loss may be unavailable until recovery is complete. The loss in productivity will vary based on the business in question and in many cases can have a substantial impact on the company’s bottom-line.
  • Impacting business competitiveness: Data drives decision-making, and the loss of it can cripple the ability of your business to respond to challenges in the marketplace and remain competitive. Industrial sabotage often aims at data destruction for this reason.
  • Consumer confidence: Media reports of corporate data loss or breaches are almost always accompanied by declines in consumer confidence regarding the company involved. In some cases, this can result in serious financial losses as current and potential customers choose to avoid the affected business. It can take a lot of time to rebuild market confidence.
  • Ransomware: Malicious software attacks from ransomware can shut down vital systems until you pay the ransom or find alternate ways of recovering the affected system. This results in monetary and human resource losses as you attempt to recover from the attack.

You need to be concerned about the various ways that data loss can occur and the impacts it can have on your business. Guarding against data loss and preparing to recover it if a loss occurs should be taken seriously by any business that values its future viability.

The Importance of Regular Backups

Backing up your business data is a critical factor in your ability to recover from data loss and mitigate its negative impact on your company.

Depending on the size of your company and the number of computers involved, you can use several strategies when backing up your business data:

  • Operating system backup tools: Both Windows and macOS have built-in backup software. In some cases, this may be sufficient to protect your data with securely stored external storage media. This is a simple method of backing up your data that only requires peripheral storage devices to hold the backups. 
  • Enterprise backup software and hardware: Data backup for larger installations is often performed by proprietary software and hardware solutions such as Acronis, Arcserve, and dynamic data. Managing these backup systems can be time-consuming and require specific technical expertise. They can be costly to implement and maintain but can provide the means to recover from a small or large data loss event.
  • Cloud backups: Backing up to a cloud provider can make sense for organizations of any size. It offers immediate offsite storage and can be flexibly scaled to fit your company’s changing requirements. An advantage of cloud backups is its compatibility with the mobile devices that are in wide use throughout the business landscape.

A backup system is only as strong as the policies that support it.

The backup data needs to be encrypted to ensure its security. Offsite storage needs to be in place to guard against a physical disaster affecting both the machines and their backups.

Managing backups to ensure that they complete regularly and successfully are key to a recovery.

Methods for Recovering Lost Data

As mentioned previously, a recovery plan is an essential component in recovering your lost data. It needs to include the use of previously created backups and a high-quality data recovery tool.

Let’s look at some methods for recovering lost data.

Use Your Operating System

In cases of human error, you might be able to find the lost data in the macOS Trash Bin or Windows Recycle Bin.

Windows recycle bin

Recently lost or accidentally deleted files might still be available for a quick recovery. It’s certainly worth a look before proceeding to more complex solutions.

Use Your Backups

Now is the time when you receive the payoff for spending time managing your business data backups. They will be used to recover your files or systems.

It is recommended that you conduct periodic recovery tests to familiarize your team with the procedures and tasks involved in restoring the data.

You should have plans and a procedure in place to address small data losses comprised of a few files as well as complete rebuilds of damaged or destroyed systems.

This may entail recalling backup storage media from offsite locations and using alternate hardware to restore the functionality of your business. It is an important function of your IT department and should not be overlooked if you value your data and its importance to your company.

Use a Data Recovery Tool

There are times when the solutions mentioned above will not be sufficient to recover your data. It may be that you experienced damage to a storage device before it had been backed up or cleared out your computer’s trash before discovering that you needed some recently deleted files.

You can make use of free data recovery software that can extract data from damaged or formatted disks and recover files you thought were gone forever.

A number of effective hard drive recovery software solutions are available, which you can use to address your data loss issue. Some of your options are:

  • Disk Drill
  • EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
  • Recuva
  • TestDisk

The best data recovery software should enable you to recover files from any storage device.

Disk Drill can restore lost data stored on Windows and macOS computers as well as any external storage media that can connect to the machine.

Disk Drill

Disk Drill is a full-featured data recovery tool you should consider adding to your recovery plans.

A data recovery tool can help your business retrieve files you thought were lost forever.

Your Business Can Recover Lost Data

Your business data is a critical component of your company’s success. Keeping it safe should be a business priority.

Instituting security practices to minimize the threat of unauthorized users and malware is one protective step to take. Conducting regular backups of your business data is also vitally important. They may present the only way to adequately recover in the event of a major data loss.

Having a good understanding of your recovery procedures is essential in recovering your data in a timely manner. Don’t wait until disaster strikes to test your recovery plans.

Your data is too important to be an afterthought in your business plans.