Data loss symbolized by a rack of hard drives being removed from a blade chassis.

4 real-life examples of data loss

Data loss can affect your business when you least expect it. It can be caused by a myriad of factors including weak passwords, social engineering attacks like phishing, or equipment error. You might think that it can never happen to you, but the truth is it can happen to anyone at any time.

These real-life examples of data loss illustrate why it is so important to have multiple data backups and a plan for data restoration.

1. AMAG Pharmaceuticals

AMAG Pharmaceuticals ran into a problem with data stored on Google Drive. A folder relating to HR activities was moved within the company’s Drive, it stopped syncing properly. As a result, all the files seemed to disappear. After checking everywhere, including the trash bin and desktop, it seemed like the data was completely gone.

Luckily the company was using a special tool specifically for the backup of Google drive files. There were able to restore all the files quickly and keep operations running smoothly.

2. The UK prison system

In 2008, a consulting firm lost a lucrative contract with the UK prison system when an employee misplaced or lost a USB drive containing the personal information and release dates of more than 80,000 inmates. This case goes to show how physical security is just as important a part of data loss prevention as cyber tactics.

The stick was lost when an employee went on vacation and left it in her unlocked desk drawer in an unsecured area of the company’s building. When she returned from her trip it was no longer there and no one had any idea what had happened to it.

As a result of this lost data, the consulting firm lost a big client and a lot of revenue, not to mention the hit to their reputation.

3. DreamHost

Back in 2007, more than 500 websites hosted by a company called DreamHost started to disappear from the web. It was due to a bug on one of their routers. They fixed the issue and thought everything would be back in working condition right away, but they still found that DNS records were being deleted by the bug.

The lost records were not able to be restored and all DreamHost could do was learn from their mistakes and apologize to their customers. They worked hard after the incident to improve the security and stability of their service and repair their image.

The fact that they’re still around is proof that you can recover from data loss, but imagine how much easier it would have been if their data had been backed up in a safe location.

4. Microsoft Sidekick

Microsoft’s Sidekick was a trendy mobile device that could switch from a simple bar phone to a flip-up phone with a full QWERTY keyboard. It was pretty revolutionary as texting was starting to catch on and people needed more room for their fingers to express their thoughts.

In 2009, the Microsoft Sidekick servers experienced failure, and lost tons of customer data including contacts, calendar appointments, and to do lists. The kicker was that the sub-company that made the device, Danger, did not have a proper backup of these files so the data was truly just lost forever. What a disaster!

Curious about how to create a safe and secure data backup and restoration plan? Contact a cybersecurity expert to make sure your business has the right controls in place to avoid situations like the ones listed above.