Why Should We Care About Securing Business Data?
What the Heck is World Backup Day?
Computer geeks think every day is World Backup Day. For the rest of us, World Backup Day, March 31 each year. It’s a day designated to raise awareness about securing business data with backup copies.
Most computer savvy people habitually back up their data files. However, statistics show nearly 30% of computer users have never backed up files on their devices. And with people now collectively generating over 1.8 zettabytes of data a year, a lot of information could be lost in the blink of an eye. The importance of securing business and personal data has never been greater.
Just think about all the data you record in a single day: business transactions, timecards, service calls, human resources interactions, and more. For those not in business, photos, text messages, call logs, music playlists, social media posts, et cetera, are collected on your computer, smart phone or tablet. Everyone should care about World Backup Day.
The Cost of Data Loses
The “2017 Ponemon Cost of Data Breach Study” shows some good news over previous years: The global average cost of a data breach is down 10% over previous years to $3.62 million. The average cost for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and conﬁdential information also signiﬁcantly decreased in this year’s study. However, even though cost per record went down, the number of records being breached went up. The average size of the data breaches in this research increased 1.8% to more than 24,000 records.
Despite the good news from the latest report, the statistics also show that data breaches and money lost from them are higher in the United States than the rest of the world. Business Insider reported last year that the average loss due to a data breach to U.S. businesses is over $7 million.
Average Cost of a Data Breach
- Globally: $3.62 million average cost of a data breach, up 17% since 201
- U.S. only: $7.35 million average cost of a data breach, up 25% since 2013
Average Cost per Record Breached
- Globally: $141 average cost per record breached
- U.S. only: $225 average cost per record breached
Expenses incurred resolving data breaches include:
Loss of customers
Breached client records
Direct financial loss
Credit card re-issues and identity theft repair
Effects on Small Business
The astronomical amounts of money lost by large corporations is incredible. How does that translate to local retail stores? Steve Strauss, an attorney specializing in small business who contributes to USA Today, wrote last year that, according to a Verizon 2017 Data Breach Investigation Report, 61% of breaches hit smaller businesses. That figure was an 8% increase over 2015.
A UPS Capital report adds:
Cyberattacks cost small businesses between $84,000 and $148,000
60% of small businesses fold within six months of an attack
90% of small businesses don’t use data protection for company and customer information.
How Data Breaches Happen
Data breaches can range from sophisticated malware attacks that utilize a squadron of malicious coders to a relatively simple but often used attack called a Business Email Compromise (BEC). BEC’s are a phishing scam where fraudulent emails appearing to be from reputable sources They are sent en masse to corporate employees with the hope one of them will make a fatal response.
Once a hacker gains entry to a company’s database, the door is wide open for a breach. Small businesses can easily lose customer lists and records. These could contain credit card and social security information, vendor information, financial and human resources data, and more.
CSO, a company that provides corporations with information on securing business data, reported that Yahoo tops the list of the 17 largest data breaches of the 21st century. In late 2016, the search engine giant announced it had approximately 3 billion user accounts compromised in attacks that dated back to 2013. User names, email addresses, birthdates and telephone numbers were filched, and most of the users’ passwords had been trashed.
Other notable data breaches include:
eBay: May 2014, 145 million users
Equifax: July 2017, 143 million users
Heartland Payment Systems: March 2008, 134 million users
Target: December 2013, 110 million users
The CSO story also reports that a July 2014 data breach of JP Morgan Chase not only affected 76 million households, the data of 7 million small businesses was also compromised. The bank reported that no money was stolen and there was no evidence that account information for affected customers was compromised in the attack.
Not all Data Losses are Breaches
Statistics show that 29% of data losses are the result of an accident, and no story represents that kind of loss better than the success of Pixar’s Toy Story 2. The movie that Rotten Tomatoes gave a perfect 100% and earned both popular and critical acclaim nearly vanished during production.
The Next Web reported on the accident in 2012. In 1998, with production nearly complete, somebody on the crew entered a line of code that began erasing the files. Oren Jacob, the chief technical officer at Pixar at the time, was working with an associate reviewing a directory that contained the assets of the story’s main character, Woody, when the files began disappearing.
The command responsible for the loss was designed to clear out unwanted files, but it was inadvertently entered by somebody working on the production somewhere it shouldn’t have been, and it slowly erased the files containing the characters of Hamm, Potato Head and Rex. The crew had to literally pull the plug on the server to prevent a total loss. Still 90% of the technical files had disappeared because the backups were not regularly reviewed, and newly entered data had pushed vital older data off the tapes.
The production was saved by Galyn Susman, the movie’s supervising technical director. She had been working from home due to the birth of her son, and her work station had a full copy of the movie on it, which prevented disaster.
The story emphasizes how one wrong computer command can erase a project, a company or a file filled with a lifetime of memories. It also puts an exclamation point on why World Backup Day should be important to individuals and businesses.
How World Backup Day Started
Igneous, a company that specializes in securing business data, reports that Adam Jefferson of Leeds, England inspired the creation of World Backup Day with a simple social media post. He had lost three years of data due to a personal computer crash because he had no backup files. On March 23, 2011 he logged onto Reddit and suggested a day dedicated to the importance of backing up digital data. His idea gained traction when another user, Ismail Jadun, secured the web domain and Twitter handle for World Backup Day. Jadun has been promoting World Backup Day ever since.
“I’m thrilled with the response to World Backup Day, and I hope it’s made a difference in people’s lives,” Jadun said. “We all know someone who has lost critical data, whether it was their videos, photos, music, book reports, or personal stuff. Hopefully this day will make everyone think about their situation, learn about the various options and get their files backed up. I hope that World Backup Day sparks conversations about the enormous task of saving our digital heritage for future generations.”
Jadun set World Backup Day on March 31 to emphasize the message that people should not be an April Fool by not securing their business data.
Joining in World Backup Day Can Help Prevent Data Catastrophe
The files in business networks, personal desktops, laptops, smart phones, tablets and any other wireless devices should be backed up regularly. Jadun says data loss of the information they hold can come from either physical or cyber theft, hardware failures, natural disasters such as fires or floods, obsolete file formats, or by just being misplaced.
Backing up files today is relatively easy and there are two common solutions.
Igneous technologist Nick Kirsch offers additional suggestions:
Backup is only as good as your ability to restore
Aim for 100% reliable backups
Don't forget that backup isn't an archive