If you are a business, data can be your most valuable asset. At home, your data includes your treasured memories as well as your important financial documents and history. The data on your home or business PC is easily as valuable as some of the items that you insure from loss, such as jewelry, electronics, vehicles, family heirlooms, china and furniture. Yet fewer households and businesses insure their data against loss than should, especially considering how cost-effective and simple it is to backup your data on a regular basis.
To drive the point home, take the following top 8 data disks into consideration.
1. Hardware Failure
Hardware failure is the most commonly discussed data risk and in many cases, it can be the most devastating. This is because hard drive failure is often sudden, unexpected and absolute. While most commercial off the shelf hard drives are very reliable for a number of years, every piece of hardware has a rated longevity, and it’s not uncommon for hard drives to be faulty out of the box (similar to a “lemon” car).
With laptops and portable hard drives, hardware failure can also occur due to mishandling. Dropping a hard drive or subjecting it to extreme environmental conditions may not cause it to fail immediately. But the disruption of the sensitively aligned parts in the drive may lead to further trouble down the road.
2. Software Failure
Software failures include buggy applications, which may malfunction and erroneously overwrite or corrupt databases, spreadsheets or word processing documents, as well as operating system failures. If essential software becomes corrupted, it may result in data loss. But more commonly, software issues mean loss of access to your data. Sometimes, repairing the operating system or recovering the data and migrating to a new installation solves the issue. But if a particular piece of software is on the fritz, it could mean losing significant amount of work if you haven’t backed up recently.
3. File System Corruption
While sudden hard drive failure is rare, it does happen. But a more common cause of hard drive failure is power loss or improper shutdown. When hard disks are reading and writing and are suddenly detached or powered down, you can easily corrupt the file system. Although this usually results in a logical failure of the hard drive, rather than a mechanical failure, the result is usually a loss of all data on the hard drive. Data recovery techniques are effective, but not guaranteed.
4. Accidental Deletion
Computers are machines, but users are human. Mistakes can be made and files often get deleted by accident. This is especially true when computers have multiple users, during migration of data or when hard drives get near capacity. Having important files backed up separates it from the everyday “workspace” and mitigates the risk of it being deleted on accident.
5. Virus Infection
Virus attacks are unpredictable, often undetectable and almost always malicious. Viruses can infect certain parts of your system and certain kinds of files. This can lead to random deletion of your important files as well as infection of files, making them no longer safe to use. As such, removal of the virus may lead to data loss as well.
If your laptop or tablet gets stolen, then it goes without saying that your data gets stolen, too. Backing up on an external drive at home or to a cloud backup service prevents you from losing your software and files along with your hardware. Most insurance plans that cover theft will replace your computer, but they won’t make any attempts to compensate you for lost data.
Disgruntled employees, corporate spies or hackers with access to company data and applications can wreak havoc on your day-to-day operations. A backup may help protect against those who intentionally cause data loss.
8. Natural Disasters
Fires, floods, mud slides, hurricanes, lightning strikes, earthquakes—if it can take out a building, then it can take out your computer, too. An offsite backup or cloud backup system will protect your data, even if a tornado sucks up your entire office building.
As you can see, there are many risks of data loss, some foreseeable and others more unpredictable. To protect against the known and unknown dangers to your data, back up your computers regularly.
Top 8 Data Risks
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