All businesses face data loss as a constant risk and, unfortunately, an inevitable reality at some point. Whether it’s an employee who overwrites a folder or a natural disaster, data loss is something businesses have to plan for, because it will happen.

How much that data loss impacts the business will depend on how porous (or even non-existent) their data recovery plan is. In today’s world, data is created and collected in more ways than ever. It can also be lost in just as many ways, and that list is constantly growing.

Is data recoverable? Sometimes. Data recovery depends on how and why the data was lost and where it was stored to begin with.

Keep reading to learn more about each.

The Main Causes of Data Loss

Most (if not all) of the information your business needs to function is stored between local computer hard drives, local servers, and remote servers in the cloud. Wherever it’s stored, each of the following can wipe data out.

1. Human error

This is the most common cause of data loss, though the loss is usually focalized on a small group of files or folders.

Sometimes, an employee accidentally deletes something. Other times, a file is inadvertently overwritten. Or maybe it’s a spilled cup of coffee that zaps a local hard drive.

In most cases, this type of data loss has a low likelihood of recoverability. An overwritten file on a PC can’t usually be “unsaved.” A deleted file might still be in the PC’s recycle bin, but if it goes unnoticed for too long, it probably won’t be there for long.

The one exception is when employees work on shared files stored in the cloud. Even if working on a local machine through a desktop app like Microsoft Word, documents in the cloud can be easily reverted back to previous versions in a click.

2. Hard drive failures

The loss of data due to a failed hard drive doesn’t just happen with spilled coffee. Every hard drive comes to the end of its life at some point, and if we aren’t careful, our data expires with it.

The hard drive is one of the most sensitive parts of a computer. Data is only recoverable if we store backups on other hard drives, other local servers, or in the cloud.

3. Viruses and malware

There are new malware attacks every day, and small businesses fall prey more than half the time. These small business attacks are the cybercrimes you don’t hear about, because small businesses rarely have the resources to withstand them. Many businesses fail within a year of these attacks.

The nature of many attacks today is that of holding data hostage. Ransomware blocks your access to your business-essential data unless you pay.

These attacks can also result in the direct theft of data. Perhaps your operations aren’t interrupted in those cases, but later your business’s and your clients’ personal information is compromised, and countless individuals fall victim to identity theft.

In these cases, data is usually recoverable, but at a steep price.

The Backups You Need

Perform regular backups and consider storing all your data in the cloud. These two practices can protect your organization from all types of data loss—even cybercrimes. Cloud-based storage gives your business access to the robust security provisions of the cloud storage provider, too. If you use services like those provided by Apple or Microsoft, then you know you’re working with the most competitive security standards.

Keep reading to learn about better business backups.