When data loss equals financial loss, IT departments need preventative medicine through automatic back-ups
Few office workers have managed to avoid firsthand experience with data loss. The most common loss usually involves changes to a single work-in-progress, which may cost another days’ work or briefly put back a project time line. Less common, but far more devastating, is the catastrophic loss caused by hardware failure, accidental deletion, or natural disaster. Even a lost laptop can have long-term repercussions on the course of business.
The easiest and most economic way to insure against data loss on any scale is the routine backup of company data. Because manual backup procedures take up staff time, are prone to human error, and sometimes lack consistent capture of documents company-wide, most IT professionals now recommend automatic back-up via a file management system.
Hospitals and health care clinics — where immediate data availability is sometimes a matter of life or death – are now required to implement backup mechanisms as part of HIPAA compliance. A digital document management application places important files into a central repository and makes a regular — usually nightly — backup copy to a secure off-site or online location.
Backups eliminate many of the worst-case scenarios of data loss, but other file management tools can also guard against the less serious, but more common instances of lost document edits. Check in/check-out procedures, for example, prevent multiple users from editing the same document concurrently. Some file management systems preserve all past iterations of business documents, allowing users to recover old version or back step after accidental deletions.
Given the high costs associated with data loss and currently available offerings of low-cost and low-maintenance file management solutions, there is little reason even small businesses should do without these few basic safeguards.