As our reliance on technology increases, we become more vulnerable to data loss and other cybersecurity threats. With millions of individuals and businesses storing and processing sensitive information online, a data leak or breach can have a catastrophic impact.
Unsurprisingly, the rate of data breaches has increased significantly in recent years. Despite this worrying trend, it’s likely that millions more have been affected by data loss but are simply unaware or have not reported it.
For businesses, it’s particularly important to protect against data loss. The reputational damage, financial penalties and the disclosure of confidential company information can cause irreversible harm to a brand, so it’s vital to have effective data security measures in place.
Before you can review your cybersecurity strategy, however, it’s necessary to identify where the threats are coming from. According to official statistics, the top five causes of data loss are:
1. Hacking and Phishing
Unsurprisingly, hacking accounts for the majority of data loss, according to Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report. Although the term hacking refers to numerous types of nefarious activities, including phishing, DDoS attacks and cross-site scripting (XSS), when viewed as a single entity, hacking accounts for 45% of data breaches.
2. Human Error
Many people are shocked to learn that 22% of data loss can be traced back to a human error of some sort. If an employee inadvertently deletes data or shares it with unauthorized users, for example, their error leads to a recognized data breach and/or loss, as well as the subsequent loss of confidentiality.
3. Ransomware and Malware
We may be familiar with the terms ‘ransomware’ and ‘malware,’ but this doesn’t necessarily mean we’re all able to spot when our devices have become infected. Sophisticated hackers are capable of infiltrating systems with software that’s designed to cause some level of damage and get you to pay to re-access data. This can cause major financial stress on your business, and paying a hacker does not guarantee you’ll get your data back.
4. Disgruntled Employees
Human error doesn’t mean employees are necessarily actively trying to breach data regulations, and it’s more common for unwitting employees to accidentally destroy or share data than it is for them to target their employer’s IT systems.
Despite this, disgruntled employees do account for a proportion of data loss. Due to this, every business should have a robust system in place to ensure that vengeful employees cannot destroy or sabotage valuable information.
5. Natural Disasters
When data is stored in a physical location, it is vulnerable to physical harm. If a server is destroyed due to a flood or earthquake, for example, businesses could find that their data is lost too.
Verizon estimates that 4% of data loss incidents involve physical acts, but the extent of the damage can be much greater than other incidents. Luckily, as companies continue to transition to cloud computing and remote networks, it’s likely that the rate of data loss caused by physical acts, including natural disasters, will decline.
How to Prevent Data Loss
Due to the far-reaching impact data loss has, it’s essential that businesses have effective data loss prevention strategies in place. With comprehensive cybersecurity and backup & disaster recovery plans, companies can ensure their data is held securely and remains recoverable, regardless of the threats against it. As a result, these businesses can maintain optimal uptime in the face of cyberattacks or system outages and avoid operational disruptions.
Various methods are used to create effective back and disaster recovery plans. One way to mitigate the impact of data loss is by using a full redundancy technique, for example. This involves storing data in more than one location, to ensure it remains accessible if one set of data is damaged or lost.
Additionally, round-the-clock-patching can be used to keep your software and systems updated in real-time. This ensures organizations are protected from the latest cybersecurity threats, with specialists upgrading their security measures as new threats emerge.
Full redundancy and round-the-clock patching are just two elements of a comprehensive data backup and disaster recovery plan. Managed firewalls, web filtering, multi-factor authentication, intrusion prevention and awareness training are just some of the measures you can take to ensure you have a reliable cybersecurity strategy in plan.
To learn more about Busch Consulting’s cybersecurity and backup & disaster recovery services, contact us today.