TMCnet Feature
November 13, 2019

Prevent Data Loss with These 5 Tips

Data collection is an important business function and your store of data is important to your business whether you are a stylist or a website designer. With this in mind, it is essential to avoid data loss at all costs. For example, you will be collecting data on your customers as a business asset you have collected over the years. 

There are laws that regulate the amount of time that certain types of data must be retained. Self-employed traders are required by the HMRC to hold on to their financial documents for as long as 5 years. Limited companies must hold on to their information for an extra year. Then there are other professionals like accountants and solicitors that are required to hold this information for as long as 6 years.

According to Tetrabyte, the need to have a well-organized and data backup plan in order is essential for most companies, even smaller startups. 

What causes data loss?

Data loss can come from malfunctions or criminal theft. Under the Data Protection Act of 1998, customer data is a protected asset. This means that poor handling of important data could lead to an investigation into the ways you are handling your data affairs.

Here are some of the common ways that data loss occurs in the average business.

  • File corruption
  • Virus
  • Hardware failure
  • Accidental deletion
  • Hardware theft

We will now outline some of the most basic practical steps you can take to avoid data loss in your business.

1.         Backup data locally

If you do nothing else, be sure that you have a plan to backup and save all the local files. This could involve installing a network that your staff is able to access through their desktops. A mass storage systems like an external hard drive would be an important investment and a minimum protection against data loss.

Furthermore, you will want to ensure that all your locally saved data is being kept in a safe place, like a locked cabinet. This will reduce the likelihood of your vital data falling into the wrong hands or suffering any other breaches of the Data Protection Act.

We don’t recommend using CD-Rs, DVD-Rs or pen drives for the purpose of local backup. It would be a far better plan to invest in the mass storage system as these are better suited to large scale data backup and far less susceptible to malfunction.

2.         Back up files externally

You should also consider an external plan to back up your data, like Cloud. You should also not that this will be different from a cloud storage service like i-Cloud or Dropbox (News - Alert). You can read more about the Pros and Cons of this option here.

If you are not planning on investing in Cloud Storage, then you should at least invest in an external memory unit that can be disconnected and taken with you out of premises when your regular back up has been completed. This device should be stored somewhere off the business location. Once again DVD-Rs, CD-Rs and other such low-quality memory options will not make a sustainable solution. You need something that will withstand the elements so that if your primary backup has been compromised due to disaster or theft, you will have a reliable and safe memory unit as a backup and be able to get back online in no time.

3.         Organize files systematically

We also recommend that you have a careful plan for the organization of your data. In addition to preventing data loss, proper organization will make it easier to quickly access data when you need it most.

Proper organization is at the heart of a proper plan to keep your data from all loss. As a matter of fact, a proper system of file organization will improve the backup process as well enhancing its various benefits.  Without organization, it is also easier to lose data to simple human errors.

4.         Assign Files an Order of Importance

You will be able to reduce the burden of your data backup responsibility by assigning each type of file a level of importance. This will allow you to only backup the most essential files and allow the temporary files used day to day to be backed up only occasionally. This can also save time especially for those who are unable to automate this process.

5.         Automate the data backup process

The perfect solution is to have your files backed up automatically. However many of the smaller businesses will not have the capacity for automating this function, usually because they lack the technical capacity for this upgrade. One good solution is to invest in Cloud backup as this option typically comes with a nice set of automated options that are easily understood and applied.

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