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Five common IT mistakes that lead to data loss

Infrastructure

Whether it’s erasing those prized vacation photos at home, or a key business document at work, accidental data loss can be painful. But it’s also preventable.

Kroll Ontrack, a developer of data recovery, e-discovery and information management solutions, has identified what it sees as the five most common IT administrator mistakes that can lead to data loss. And given the increasing complexity of advanced storage systems and the increasing importance of organizational data, the risk is only weekend.

“With data stored in multiple locations and on multiple devices, loss at any level can be very detrimental, putting IT administrators in the hot seat to provide fast issue resolution and minimize downtime,” said Jeff Pederson, manager of data recovery operations for Kroll Ontrack, in a statement. “Under such extreme pressure, IT teams may be overlooking established ITIL best practices for IT service management in the pursuit of urgent issue resolution, leaving organizations at risk for data loss.”

Here’s Kroll Ontrack’s five common storage mistakes you should strive to avoid:

  • Failure to document and execute established IT, retention and backup procedures. Kroll Ontrack sees it time and time again. A test server moves into production, but no one has informed IT that it is now capturing valuable data, and the data is not being backed up. Or, inaccurate documentation has IT administrators decommissioning a SAN that is actually still in production, resulting in data loss.
  • Failure to keep OS and anti-virus software up to date. Days are busy and resources are stretched, but failing to update OS security patches and anti-virus software can result in treacherous security breaches and extensive data loss.
  • Failure to backup effectively. In a recent survey of Kroll Ontrack data recovery customers, 60 percent had a backup in place at the time of loss, but the backup was not working properly at the time of loss. Failure to establish and follow backup procedures, or test and verify backup integrity is a guaranteed recipe for data loss.
  • Deleting data that is still in active use. This may be surprising, but you’d be astonished how often Kroll Ontrack performs data recovery on tapes or server networks that are thought to be out of use, but still contain active data. Do your due diligence and ensure the data you delete is no longer of value.
  • Failure to test IT security policies. Even the smallest failure in IT security can lead to devastating results, including critical data loss and huge expense. Restrict IT administrator passwords only to required users, and change them when an IT administrator leaves the company. Some of Kroll Ontrack’s most compelling data loss cases are the result of a disgruntled employee with a live password intentionally deleting large amounts of critical company data.