Data Loss Threats Multiply: What Can We Do?

If you’ve been reading any technology news lately, you’ve seen that it’s a rough time out there for data protection. Ars Technica recently conducted an experiment where they handed 3 password crackers a list of 16,449 passwords. 62% of them were cracked in an hour by one of the crackers. Another spent 20 hours and got up to 90%.

In other news, China is continuing to sharpen their hacking skills by throwing a hackathon for the People’s Liberation Army. This is just the latest in a string of news involving China and hacks. Even the National Intelligence Council (NIC) in the US is not immune; their chairman’s personal email account just got hacked, resulting in the publication of email exchanges with 9/11 Commission members as well as documents covering the latest Obama administration’s transition earlier this year.

With the increased presence of hacking in the news, you may be starting to feel like your data isn’t safe anywhere. And that’s certainly understandable; you worked hard to create all of those files and the thought of them getting seen by prying eyes or leaked to the media is unsettling.

But the real problem to think about is data loss. If someone gets a hold of your credit card number, these days most banks will take care of the problem before you’ve even realized it happened. Data leaks like the one that just happened to the NIC chairman or the one that affected a diverse group of the rich and powerful last month are more often than not an inconvenience, albeit a major one. The media gets a hold of it, apologies are made, damage control is done, maybe a few customers decide to take their business elsewhere.

If data is lost, many companies won’t survive it. A Gartner study found that 90 percent of companies that experience data loss go out of business within two years. If you enjoy having a steady job or owning a business, that should terrify you.

So what can you do in the face of all of these threats? Well first of all, make sure you’re taking whatever steps you can on the front end to prevent data loss; just because data protection is getting more difficult doesn’t mean you should leave the door open. Make sure everyone in your organization is using some kind of password management system that generates hard-to-crack passwords.

Also, make sure your data is easily recoverable in the event of loss. This means backing it up to a safe, secure, encrypted location that is easily accessible if data is lost in the original storage location. If you can get your data back quickly, you’ll be in a much better position to not become one of the 90% who lose their job after losing their data. Any test of a backup solution should include a stopwatch measurement of how quickly data can be recovered.

Organizations that pay attention to the potential threat of data breach or loss are more likely to prevent it from happening and survive it if it does happen. In other words, don’t be scared; be ready. If you’re a Google Workspace user, click here to start a free trial of Spanning Backup.


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