How Can You Recover From an Unexpected Data Loss Event?

Youve suffered a data loss. What now? How can you recover from an unexpected data loss event? We explain the six steps for effective, business-saving data loss recovery.

6 Steps to Business-Saving Data Loss Recovery

If your business suffers a data loss event, the costs will rack up quickly. The impact of data loss on business can be disastrous, with the expense of downtime ratcheting up at an average of $8,000 each hour. Little wonder that PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 70% of small businesses that suffer a major data loss event close within a year.

While implementing our 16 tips to reduce the risk of data loss in your company is crucial to protect your data, no data protection strategy can be 100% guaranteed. Therefore, you’ll want to know how to recover from an unexpected data loss event.

We’ve condensed the process of effective data loss recovery into the following six steps.

Data Loss Recovery Step #1: Stop what you’re doing!

As soon as you discover that you have suffered unexpected data loss, pause. Stop using all affected devices. You don’t want to overwrite data that you need to recover.

Close all applications and get an experienced data recovery specialist to inspect your devices.

Data Loss Recovery Step #2: Document what has happened

It’s crucial to understand the cause of the data loss. The more you can learn about this, the easier it will be to recover lost data and prevent a reoccurrence. Gather and document as much detail as possible, focusing on the following questions:

  • What specific data is your organization missing? 

  • What happened before the loss was discovered? 

  • Has any software been recently installed or updated?

  • Have any changes been made to the system or network?

  • Has your company onboarded a new employee?

  • Has the security team identified any recent vulnerabilities?

  • Has equipment been physically damaged (for example, water damage)?

Data Loss Recovery Step #3: Select the best data loss recovery method to use

There are several methods to recover lost data. Which you use will need to be determined after confirming what devices and data have been affected, and how the data loss was caused. There are four primary recovery methods that might be employed:

  1. Use your operating system

You may be able to recover lost data by performing a system restore.

  1. Go for disk recovery

You could use drive recovery software to attempt a disk recovery.

  1. Turn to your backups

If you have backed up your data, it should be possible to restore the data to the last backup version. If you backup daily, the most work you will need to do to bring your data up to date is 24 hours of data collection/input.

  1. Implement a data recovery tool

It may also be possible to recover lost data by using data recovery software.

A word of warning:

If you make a mistake while attempting to recover lost data, you could make matters worse and data irretrievable. 

Data Loss Recovery Step #4: Contact an IT professional for support

If you are not sure of which method to use, or how to correctly execute any of these four data recovery methods, it is crucial to hire the services of a data recovery professional. If you screw up during a data recovery attempt and do more harm than good, your costs will escalate.

Data Loss Recovery Step #5: Inform your customers and business partners

The fifth step is to inform your customers and business partners. You may want to consider sending them a notification, an email, or a letter. Informing them of the data loss and letting them know that you have taken steps to rectify the issue will help you maintain the trust of your customer base.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • The sooner you inform your customers and business partners, the better chance you have of minimizing any damage to your reputation or revenue.

  • Be honest with them about what happened. If a hacker gained access to information, be transparent about what they may know or not know about their account’s security status.

  • Make sure they understand how to protect themselves going forward. Provide instructions on how they can change their password, update their security settings, and more so that they are less vulnerable in the future.

  • Offer assistance if necessary.

Data Loss Recovery Step #6: Prevent future data incidents

The last step is to review the data loss event from cause through to recovery and inform third parties. This will help you understand why the data loss event happened, what lessons you have learned, and what steps to take to prevent the same event from happening again:

  • Do your employees need data security training?

  • Have you identified vulnerabilities in your systems or data security strategy?

  • Is your backup strategy effective, or does it need to be revised?

The bottom line

A serious data loss event can be disastrous to your business. It can damage your reputation, customers could move on, and sales could plummet. Every minute of downtime will cost your business in productivity and financially.

These six steps will help you to limit any fallout and damage from a data loss event, and prevent it from happening again.

Is data protection a challenge for your business?

To learn how our data security and managed IT services help small and medium businesses to secure their data and prevent the extreme damage of a data loss event, contact Millennium Tech today

In the meantime, if you do nothing else today, back up your data!

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