The cost of not having backups

The cost of not having backups

With World Backup Day (March 31) just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to check if you’ve backed up your data recently.

If you haven’t, then you should take the World Backup Day pledge: “I solemnly swear to back up my important documents and precious memories on March 31st. I will also tell my friends and family about World Backup Day — friends don't let friends go without a backup.”

Should you break this pledge, you run the risk of becoming an April Fool.

What is a data backup?

A data backup is another copy of all your important files. So instead of simply saving all your data in one place, such as your laptop, you have another copy of it somewhere else, like in a cloud storage server. Doing so allows you to access your files, even if your primary copy becomes damaged, destroyed, or inaccessible.

Further reading: The best backup solutions for remote offices

What are the consequences of not having a data backup?

Imagine losing all of your company data — all your spreadsheets, databases, emails, presentations, documents, and others — instantly. Would you be able to operate business as usual immediately? Without a data backup, the answer is most likely no.

Your employees’ productivity would probably dip, which could cripple your operations. You’d lose potential sales, suffer a bad reputation, or permanently lose your clients to your competitors. You could also incur large fines if you’ve lost data protected by regulations such as HIPAA or FERPA. Even worse, you could be forced to close down your business completely.

What are the causes of data loss?

While most companies understand how disastrous data loss can be, many still neglect backing up their files. They mistakenly think that losing their critical files is highly unlikely. But contrary to popular belief, data loss is not uncommon. They could easily lose their files due to unintentional causes such as:

  • Natural disaster (e.g., flood, earthquake, hurricane, etc.)
  • Power failure
  • Hardware and software malfunction
  • Accidental data deletion
  • Misplaced gadget containing company data

For example, in 2014, the State Department’s global database for issuing travel documents crashed due to system glitches. This led to a substantial backlog in the processing of visa and passport applications. A US embassy official estimated that around 50,000 applicants — from one country alone — were affected.

Data loss could also happen because of intentional causes like:

  • Malware
  • Hacking
  • Theft of device
  • Deliberate data deletion or sabotage

This was the case when Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (HPMC) fell victim to a ransomware attack, which blocked the hospital’s access to its network, email, and crucial patient data for a week. Because of this, some patients had to be brought to other hospitals, and the staff had to rely on telephones and fax machines to perform their tasks. Eventually, HPMC was forced to pay a ransom of 40 Bitcoins to restore its operations.

How can data backup help companies?

Data backup is key to preventing data loss. In fact, it can save businesses from the ramifications of data loss and keep their operations running.

This is exactly what happened to Pixar. In 1998, the company lost 90% of the last two years of work on Toy Story 2 when one of its animators accidentally deleted a root folder in the company’s internal servers. Unfortunately, they also discovered that their backup system wasn’t working. The film was saved when its technical director, who was working from home to care for her newborn child, revealed that she had a backup on her home computer. This enabled Pixar to push through with the film’s original release date.

Pixar is just one of many other businesses that have benefited from data backup. Yours can too. Make sure to take the World Backup Day pledge seriously and back up your company files regularly.

Need help in rolling out a reliable data backup system? Multi-awarded managed IT services provider outsourceIT offers data backup solutions throughout Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. Get in touch with us today!

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