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Data Loss Happens—It’s How You Recover that Matters

by on October 26, 2011

More than half of the companies queried for the Cibecs 2011 Business Data Loss Survey have lost data already in 2011. And with a full quarter left in the year, that result has nowhere to go but up. As this survey highlights, the fact of the matter is that companies will continue to experience data crises. Hardware will continue to fail, humans will continue to err, natural disasters will inevitably strike, laptops and iPads will continue to go missing, viruses will keep attacking and users will fail to follow backup policies.

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Of course, I don’t mean to imply that we should just throw up our hands and wait for data to go missing. On the contrary, companies can and should limit their exposure to the risks of data loss through actions like keeping systems up to date, ensuring data integrity, enforcing and educating users on security and backup policies and more.

However, try as we might, we can’t eliminate the risk of data loss altogether. That’s where disaster recovery preparedness comes in. Having a fully tested disaster recovery plan is essential. And the foundation of that plan is data storage. Having a tiered data storage strategy that incorporates the right mix of storage media—from hosted cloud storage to offsite tape management solutions—can help ensure that your data is fully backed up and readily accessible for a restore when inevitably needed.

While storage can seem like a basic, mundane fact of IT life, in the end it’s largely your storage strategy that will determine whether and how quickly you can recover lost data. Not to mention how much it will cost to restore your data: The Cibecs study reports that the average cost of recovering from the loss or theft of a business laptop is $50,000. Sound steep? When you consider the indirect costs of data loss, like interrupted productivity and reputational damage, it starts to seem a little more realistic. The faster and easier your recovery, the bigger the bite you can take out of these costs as well.

DR planning and a well-thought-out storage strategy can help minimize the risks and consequences of unavoidable data loss. If the numbers from this study are any indication, the business world has a lot to gain by investing the time and dollars to ensure that these IT basics are rock-solid. Twenty-seven percent of the companies surveyed said it would take a full 24-hour day to recover lost data, and 10 percent said they would not be able to recover lost data at all. Imagine the impact of an event like this on your business. What would it mean in terms of sales, customer service, legal and compliance exposure—and maybe even your own job security? What can you do today to protect your data and your business from the inevitability of a data loss? This survey is a great reminder for all of us of how important it is to take those actions before it’s too late.

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