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Dealing with Major Data Loss: A Guide for Small Business Owners

Dealing with Major Data Loss: A Guide for Small Business Owners

By Lucy Reed

So, it appears your business has suffered a major data loss. Maybe you or one of your employees accidentally deleted something important. Or, maybe you’ve been hit with malware or some other type of hack. Perhaps it’s an equipment failure. Whatever the reason, you may be in panic mode. Here’s what you need to do to recover.

First Off, Don’t Panic

Take a deep breath and realize that this is common. It’s also common to be ill-prepared (if that’s how you feel). A survey of small businesses found that over half were ill-prepared for a major data loss. Although it’s true that data loss can disrupt your business, its negative effects can be mitigated and you can take steps to prevent it from happening again.

Determine the Cause of the Data Loss

Data loss can occur for a number of different reasons, some more in your control than others. Data can be deleted outright, which can be intentional or accidental. A variety of “acts of God” can lead to data loss, including power outages, electrical surges, and water damage. Software or hardware can fail, corrupting your data. And finally, malevolent actors can steal, ransom, or delete your data via viruses, malware, and phishing scams. Determine what led to your data loss and plug any vulnerabilities.

Immediately Get Into Recovery Mode

Fortunately, what is lost is not always lost for good. Some lost data can be recovered, especially if you already had some sort of backup software in place (either hard backups or cloud computing). There is also a good amount of free and lower-cost data recovery software out there, and this can help you if your data loss was somewhat small and specific (relatively speaking).

It’s much more likely, however, that your data loss was random, wholesale, and possibly catastrophic. If this is the case, a data recovery specialist is your best bet. Skilled teams like Secured Data Recovery specialists can recover your lost data when possible or, at least, lessen the impact when the loss is permanent. It’s important that you leave your systems off before you get help. Don’t reboot and attempt to fix the problem yourself; your chances of recovery are better this way.

Take Steps to Prevent Further Data Loss

Whether you recover all, some, or very little of your lost data, any small business that wants to truly bounce back from a data incident will take multiple steps to prevent it from happening again. Here are some places to start:

  • Shore up your employees’ device usage. Data loss from employee error and from hacks/malware is much more likely when employees use their own devices.
  • Prevent physical damage to computers/servers by keeping them housed in cool, dry, dust-free zones.
  • Make backing up data your new company religion. Always have multiple backup locations — both physical and cloud.
  • Have a contingency plan for a weather event or sudden power outages. For most businesses, this means having some sort of power generator in place.
  • Tighten up your security. If you don’t have an in-house team who can handle it, you need to hire help. Small businesses tend to think they are too low on the proverbial totem pole to interest hackers. This is far from the truth.

Although a major data loss will certainly be a scary event for any small business owner, it’s important to know that it can be mitigated if you act fast and act smart. Now is not the time to skimp on extra security, employee training, or recovery experts. Do what needs to be done, and you’ll come out of this stronger in the end.

Photo by Luca Bravo

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