The following guest post was written by Anne Matthews, a professional data security blogger.
A few years ago, the popular UK insurance company Zurich, was fined over 2.2 million pounds by the Financial Services Authority for losing the data of over 46,000 customers. According to the BBC, the data was lost during a routine data transfer. In the article, the FSA stated that Zurich failed to secure the data adequately, so it was easily transferable to a storage device and lacked encryption. Sadly, the entire incident could have been prevented by adding extra security measures to their data transfer methods.
Data loss is a scary prospect for businesses of any size. It causes loss of income, unnecessary downtime and in some cases, irreversible damage to the brand. In a recent survey conducted by Carbonite, respondents said that it would take 16 days to recreate or recover their lost files and nearly a third of them said they would never be able to recover or recreate all of their data, if it were lost. Unfortunately, this type of loss happens every day and Boston Computing warns that 60% of businesses will never reopen after data goes missing.
Risks Rated to Data Loss
If your business makes use of any electronic storage medium, it’s at risk of data loss. Natural disasters, break-ins, glitches and damage can all cause businesses to lose valuable information. This information is particularly at risk if it’s being accessed through the Internet. Cyber criminals can phish passwords, hack databases and infect systems to siphon valuable data. The Cancer Care Group, located in Indianapolis, was the latest victim of data theft. The thief made off with a laptop that contained the information of over 55,000 patients, which included identification details and medical records. Unfortunately, the computer hasn’t been retrieved, but the medical group is taking no chances on it ever happening in the future.
The sad truth is that it takes situations like these for businesses to realize that data storage is a tricky game; and this game often ends badly if security measures aren’t taken to prevent data loss. Passwords just aren’t enough for tech savvy criminals, and it definitely isn’t enough to retrieve data if it’s lost due to technical glitches or natural disasters.
Biometrics for Added Security
One of the best ways to adequately secure your data is to encrypt it. This adds an additional measure of security to your system so that certain viruses and malware can’t penetrate it. It also makes your data twice as hard for cyber criminals to hack into. Another measure of security that big businesses and medical facilities are starting to use is biometrics. Biometrics is a level of security that requires biological signs for data access. This includes retinal scans, fingerprints, voice patterns and even DNA. According to Raconteur, the most effective form of biometric authentication is vein pattern recognition. However, Voice Trust states that 90% of people are comfortable with voice biometrics for added security.
Hospitals are planning to use biometrics as a way to accurately identify patients and to access patient medical records. This minimizes the risk of record mix-ups and it improves treatment times for critical patients who aren’t able to identify themselves. Businesses often use biometrics to secure laptops, vaults, computers and premises. Governments overseas are also utilizing biometrics to secure voting during elections. Since the only person who can access this information is the person linked to it, no thief can gain access.
In natural disasters, prevention is the best key to securing data. For this reason, most businesses choose to add cloud storage to their contingency plans. By backing up data on a server located off-premise, there is little to no risk of data loss in the event of a storm or glitch. Once the premise is safe to resume business, the user logs into the cloud system and picks up where they left off. Google docs uses cloud storage, so if you use Google apps for business, you’ll always be able to retrieve your information as long as you have the internet.
Disaster Recovery Planning and Data Retrieval
If your device is damaged and not working, it may still be possible to have the data recovered. In fact, smart phones and storage devices can still have data extracted from them even if they are no longer functioning. In some cases the data is gone for good, but it many cases businesses that offer data recovery services like CBL can still recover the data if you mail in the device.
As always, the best method of safety is prevention, so it’s best to be prepared for any eventuality. Even if your business is in an area that’s not likely to see the effects from a natural disaster, it’s better to be safe. As you can see from the story in the intro, disasters can happen in ways you’d never expect. So, backup your data, invest in biometrics and educate your employees on mobile safety; it’s the only way to keep your data safe and your business running smoothly.