Whether you are a business owner or simply use your personal laptop to store family pictures and your budget information, suddenly losing your data can be a distressing experience. If your company data is lost, you could be putting all of your customers in jeopardy by compromising their personal information. In many cases, we are not fully aware of the risks of data loss and how to avoid them. By better understanding some of the most common causes of online data loss, we can take steps to better handle, store, and save our data to prevent future catastrophes. Hardware and System Malfunctions A good portion of data loss is due to hardware or computer system malfunctions, and the results can be devastating. Examples of hardware and system malfunctions include controller failure, electrical failure, and head or media crash. There are several signs that may indicate your computer has experienced one of these problems: Data that you could previously access is inexplicably gone Receiving an error message stating that the device cannot be recognized A rattling or scraping sound A computer hard drive that does not function A hard drive failing to spin To prevent system and hardware malfunctions, it is important to protect all electrical components of your system by keeping your computer in a dust-free, dry, and shaded area. Use an uninterruptible power supply to protect your system from power surges, and never remove the cover on a hard drive. Human Error Human error is often the cause of data loss. We update our computer files and delete items we think we don’t need on almost a daily basis, so it is no surprise that sometimes we may delete the wrong things. This data loss could be due to failure to implement proper workflow procedures or to create backup strategies, and the most efficient way for saving work will be to regularly create backups. Accidently dropping storage devices or otherwise causing physical damage can also result in data loss, and to prevent these problems it is important to choose a low-traffic location to house your data storage device. Viruses and Malware Each day, new viruses are created and begin attacking computers, and hacking is a major cause of online data loss. Being connected online as a variety of advantages, but it also puts computers at risk of infection. While damage will differ depending on the virus, most affect operational software, damage stored data, and misuse the Internet connection. Data loss is just one side effect to some of the major damage that can be done if your operational system encounters a virus. The most serious concern regarding virus attacks are those that are targeted to damage and steal business data. If you are a business owner, consider the value of your client databases and financial transaction records. To keep your computer systems free of virus and other devastating attacks, it is important to download virus protection software. Consistent monitoring of your online security is also essential for keeping your business and personal data safe. Power Failures There are several ways in which power failures can cause data loss. When power failures affect computer hardware or operating systems, a computer may shut down suddenly and have problems rebooting later. These problems could trigger a chain reaction, causing your data to be lost or inaccessible. Spontaneous voltage changes can also cause damage to different parts of your computer. Most of these issues can be prevented by changing your power supply unit, but there is also the chance for damaging other hardware elements. Hard drives are especially sensitive to magnetic fields and voltage changes. Completing regular and automatic backups will allow you to recover from any problems caused by a power failure. Damage to computer system from spilling liquid The usage of laptop is increasing day-by-day. Many people also use their laptops while eating food and drinking water. Hence, damage caused by spilling water or other drinks like coffee, tea, juices, etc. has become common. Many laptops do not have extra protection layer hat saves it from liquid, therefore, spilling liquid causes short circuit of important electronic components. After a short circuit, computer data is really hard to recover. Usually, hard drives of computers are placed in the protective case and may still be used after getting a little wet. However, harder soaking of hard drives makes it inaccessible, too. Dropping your computer into the water is another risk of the same category. This risk is high when you sit by the pool or got hit by natural disasters, like tsunami or flooding. The damage to your computer system may be less severe, when your computer was not switched on at the time of falling into water. If your laptop or PC is completely immersed into water, it becomes hard to fix anything afterwards. You should visit a computer repairman quickly to save some parts of your computer. Computer Theft Electronic devices are a top prize for burglars, and laptops are often stolen during break-ins. While it is disheartening to learn that your laptop has been stolen, it is an even bigger tragedy when you think about all the possible data that may have also been compromised. Even if you store your data online, when your computer falls into the wrong hands, it becomes easier for criminals to access your accounts. Make losing your computer less painful by keeping your data is secure storage and using a proper strategy for data backup. Many of the most common causes of online data loss are entirely preventable if you take a proactive approach to backing up all your important data, preventing against malware, and keeping your hardware safe and secure. Accidents are bound to happen, but developing a sound strategy ahead of time will definitely help you to avoid the data loss. Please take a second to share this article, and if you have any advice on how to further prevent data loss, feel free to share your knowledge in the comment box. Images: “Data concept: magnifying optical glass with Keyhole icon and Data Loss word on digital background, 3d render/Shutterstock.com & Author’s Own” ________________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. 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