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The Cost of Data Loss

Frustrated at the cost of from data loss

The word “data” has different meaning to people around the world. It also has various levels of importance to people everywhere.  The cost of data loss also varies among people.

Data is so key in its different contexts that a mobile phone operator in Nigeria ran an advertisement campaign with the theme “data is life.” Although “data” as used in the Airtel advert referred to internet content delivered to mobile cellular network, it is as important in other contexts globally.  

Several organisations capture, process, and store data digitally. The World There are estimates that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is produced daily (that is 2.5 followed by 18 zeroes or 2.5 billion billion – a lot of data). 

Hard drive failure, USB drive theft or loss, accidental file deletion, software error, virus infection, ransomware, data overwrite, insider & external file theft and fire incidents, are some of the things that can cause data loss. Given enough time, everyone will lose data. The question then becomes “what is the cost of data to you as an individual or business”. Another question is how much will data loss affect you as a business or personally?

Some Real Data Security Statistics

Data loss is real, whether you lose information stored on your mobile device, computer or server. 

  • There were 20million breached records in March 2021.  
  • Over 40% of data breaches in 2021 was targeted at small businesses.  
  • 63% of all company internal data breach was because of compromised usernames and passwords.  
  •  73% of people use the same password across multiple platforms. 
  • 58% of small businesses are unprepared in case a data breach or loss occurs 
  • 93% of companies that are unable to recover data within the first ten days wind up 

The statistic above is a view of data breach incidents around us and evidence that it is more real than some may think. Not taking steps to limit the impact of data breach is perhaps one of the reasons why it keeps happening. Data loss occurs daily to different persons and organisations in one form or the other. It is one of those things many believe will only happen to “the other person” until it is too late, and they lose vital personal or business information.  

Deftjobs can add significant value to your business
Business Continuity: Your IT infrastructure is a critical part of your business & needs the right attention
Information Security: Our team will help protect you from the unauthorised use of information.
Data Loss Prevention: Monitor, detect and block sensitive, private and confidential data from leaving your network

The Cost Of Data Loss

Many years ago, my team lost data that was ‘safely’ backed-up on 500GB Western Digital external hard drive, when it crashed without warning. That was many years of data we had laboured to create. Fortunately, were able to save the ‘lost’ data, and all was well. However, it does not always end well when there is data loss, as valued information is sometimes never recovered!

The cost of data loss varies from a few thousands to millions and even bankruptcy. It depends on the organisation, the type or sensitivity of data lost, which geographical region they are registered in and others. 

The Nigeria Data Protection Regulation 2019 (NDPR) is the current national law on data protection in the country. It is aimed at protecting the right to privacy, creating the right environment for digital transactions, job creation and improving information management practices in Nigeria. Running afoul of this law carries fines of up to N10million or 2% of annual gross revenue in cases that deal with data of more than 10,000 people. The fine is N2 million or 1% of annual gross revenue in cases that deal with data of less than 10,000 people. 

Asides the fine by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) data loss or privacy breach may affect the reputation of your company. Clients may lose trust in your organisation and move to your competitors. Lastly, if the data lost is key or foundational to your business, like losing the formula of Coke, it may as well be the end for your business. 

How To Prevent Data Loss

Prevent Data Loss

While it may be impossible to altogether prevent data loss, having a properly implemented, managed, and monitored information systems, process and data security will limit the likelihood and impact of a breach. It will also limit the frequency of data loss

  1. Classify stored data based on sensitivity and handle accordingly 
  2. Use strong passwords: Your company should have a password policy in place. Users should avoid reusing the same password across multiple platforms and devices. User training and a password policy will be useful to avoid huge costs involved in losing data.
  3. Install an antivirus and antimalware software. Keep them updated 
  4. Be wary of email attachments. Treat all email attachments with suspicion until proven otherwise. Do not open attachments from unknown sources 
  5. Ensure your IT systems are properly configured to avoid security breaches 
  6. Staff training and awareness: Train staff to follow best practices.  
  7. Carry our regular vulnerability assessment and ensure policies & procedures are adequate. 
  8. If it is important, back it up! Backup your data securely and safely. This ensures business continuity in the event of data loss. Note that not not all back-ups are created equal. Test recovering your data from backup to see if it works.
  9. Setup access control to your IT systems and information. Insider threat is a constant threat that is often overlooked.
  10. Encrypt your data. This protects the integrity and confidentiality of valuable information. 

Conclusion

The cost of data loss can be high, depending on what is lost. The threat is real and it can happen to anyone. Both large corporations and small businesses are prone to data breach with the resultant loss of valuable data. However, following best practices will reduce the chances of a serious breach and limit the impact that such a security incidence would have on your business. 

Is your Information system professionally planned? Have you implemented security measures to counter a potential data breach? Let me know what concerns you have about your IT systems and security.  Please let me know in the comments below.

Run a security audit to see how you stand.

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