Data is the life-blood of modern enterprises and, just like the real thing, they cannot afford to lose any of it. Given that companies today collect and utilise larger volumes of data than ever before for their everyday activities, how many of them consider the critical issues surrounding disaster recovery management and the devastating consequences of data loss?

The 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report published by Verizon estimates the financial loss arising from data breaches to $400 million, in a study of 70 organisations from around the world across 12 industries. This report paints a clear and chilling overview of the state of cybersecurity right now, with nearly 80,000 security incidents reported among the companies studied, of which 2.5 per cent have been definitely confirmed as legitimate data breaches where company records were lost or stolen.

The same report also found that although the top three industries most vulnerable to data breaches are government, IT and financial services, no industry is immune to security failures. The message is clear: even organisations and sectors that tend to face a lower volume of incidents should ensure they get secured, especially when sensitive and personal information is on the line. The truth of the matter is that almost all data loss incidents can be prevented by having the right policies and procedures in place, which is a vital component of good IT governance.

The keyword is planning. Ensure that you’ve planned ahead so that if disaster strikes, you’re covered. Ask yourself or your IT experts: what measures are in place to protect your data; which of your data is absolutely mission-critical; and what would happen if it were lost?

Jack MizziJack Mizzi

The consequences of data loss are pervasive and expensive. When a company is struck by a data disaster, the impact spreads like a domino effect across every department and area of the organisation. Employees who should be busy working sit idly while their work piles up. Customer service grinds to a halt under the pressure of incoming complaints and help requests that go unanswered. Salespeople dealing with new business partners suddenly find themselves tongue-tied in the face of a possibly hostile line of questioning. These are only some of the immediate costs of a data security breach.

No industry is immune to security failures

The real costs of data loss are more complex. What value would you place on precious information, such as your customer database, confidential client data, financial records and employee data? Worse still, what is the value of the trust and confidence your clients lost in your company when your data disappeared?

Companies are willing to invest heavily in solutions that help them reduce the risk and consequences of data loss. However, the costs of housing, running and maintaining equipment to safeguard against data loss is not inconsequential.

Typically, companies save money when they leave their backups and recovery in the hands of expert companies rather than running a disaster recovery solution in-house themselves. It is more business-savvy to use specialised data hosting firms instead.

Companies that outsource their data management needs can invest only in the services they’ll actually use, rather than spend money on additional equipment required for physical backup and recovery, some of which is hardly ever used. In Malta, companies such as BMIT offer companies the possibility to choose from a range of services, depending on the specific business requirements, including co-locating data in one or more of their data centres for additional security, as well as a simple and scalable cloud backup solution that sends copies of data from any computer to BMIT’s secure backup farm. Such services address the technical requirements of a holistic disaster recovery plan.

Data loss and its consequences will continue to remain one of the most hotly debated IT topics for years to come. It is inevitable, provided the enormous databases that businesses now find themselves managing, and the ever-growing volumes of data being transferred across a multitude of new devices.

As the risk of data loss increases every day, it has become imperative for companies to turn to experts in disaster recovery to protect their business data and implement ways to prevent data breaches, minimise data loss and expedite data recovery in the event of an incident.

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