When people think about the software aspect of their businesses, they tend to focus on the visible portions, like website designs and social media reach. Although the design of your Shopify banners and the layout of your website are still important, you should also pay attention to protecting your data from loss or corruption. The loss of data can be crippling to a major corporation, more so for a small organization or business.

Effects of Data Loss

Lost data can take many forms. It can be your customer’s billing information, your shipping manifests, or worse, their financial data like credit card numbers. It can even be your text documents or simple pictures. Recovering lost business data isn’t like finding deleted tweets or restoring something from your computer’s recycle bin. They can have serious repercussions for your business.

According to one study, approximately 40 percent of the total cost of a data loss or breach is due to lost business.

This lost business can be from customers who’ve lost their trust in your organization and are jumping ship. It can be revenue lost because your computer systems are inoperable for a long time. The loss can also be because you can’t attract new business due to your tarnished reputation. New businesses already fail 21 percent of the time in their first year and such a hit on your revenue and reputation can be the nail that shuts the coffin.

Common Causes of Data Loss

Protect your business or organization from a devastating data loss by understanding the most common reasons for such an event.

Below are the five causes for data loss that you should observe

1. Software Corruption

As much as developers would like you to believe, their software isn’t as impregnable or flawless as they advertise. Corrupted software can occur due to multiple factors. Data can be corrupted because there was an error when you were saving the file. It could be because there are areas of your hard drive or other storage media that are no longer functioning properly.

You can protect your files and data from corruption through other software. For example, Office-365 Protection can keep Word documents from getting scrambled or lost in case of power failure. Backing up all data regularly can also help create file redundancies in case the original is corrupted.

2. Human Error

If it’s not your data that causes the error, it could be you or your employees. No company or organization can completely root out human error or failure. In one experiment, humans sorting information by looking over them entered the wrong values 66 percent of the time. The only way to prevent human error from losing your organization’s data is through efficient training and constant monitoring. A thorough training process can equip employees with the skills they need to do their jobs with minimal errors. In case they make any mistakes, constant and efficient monitoring and double-checking are necessary to make sure none of them slip through the system.

3. Cybercrime

An unfortunate reality is a cybercrime such as hacking and other forms of digital attack are on the rise. In the past year alone, banks and other financial organizations have been seen a whopping 238 percent rise in cyberattacks against their online operations. Ransomware attacks, which steal information from businesses and threaten to release them unless their demands are met, rose by 148 percent across the globe.

Although most cybercrime attacks are directed against large targets such as multinational corporations and financial institutions, small to medium businesses can also draw the attention of tech-savvy hooligans. Great firewalls and other digital protections can afford some security but partnering with a reliable cybersecurity provider and learning some common sense can go a long way in preventing data breaches.

4. Computer Viruses

Not every malicious computer program is directed by hackers and cybercriminals. Sometimes, these malware and computer viruses filter through the internet and into your servers or computers. They can corrupt files, slow down processing time, and generally wreak all sorts of havoc on your software. Anti-virus software, firewalls, and other measures useful against cybercriminals can be effective against viruses as well.

5. Hardware Loss

Finally, your information and data can be lost because the hardware it’s stored in is lost. Your organization’s computers could be stolen by thieves or the hard drives your data is stored in can be destroyed by a fire. Hardware loss can be caused by many factors, and defending against them all can be impossible.

You could protect your data through off-site storage and by uploading them into cloud computing software. This will ensure you can still access them even if your original hardware is lost.

Data security is an essential component of any online endeavor, whether it’s an e-commerce store or a business website. Understanding these common causes of data loss is the first step in establishing proper safeguards for your business.