5 Physical Problems of Virtual Data

There are countless ways to store and maintain data. Servers, backup drives, and computer hard drives are all physical items that allow for data storage. Even cloud services have data stored away in a physical location, typically in large server towers. While some may think this data maintains and runs itself, there are major environmental and tech considerations involved with storing information. Businesses and individuals often invest time and funds to ensure storage continues running. The last thing anyone wants to deal with is data loss or corruption, which can mean loss of revenue and clients. Here are five major challenges to consider when storing data.

1. Routine Maintenance
IT professionals have great job security. In order to preserve data, servers must go through routine housekeeping, computers need to be updated regularly, backups need to be completed, and data traffic must be monitored. Neglecting these tasks can lead to internal or external data leaks, accidental data loss through user error, and incompatibility issues from updates or lack thereof. Most companies who avoid hiring IT end up wasting countless hours trying to manage technology and have shaky workflows in place. Having a professional IT specialist on board can streamline administrative tasks and ease concerns regarding data preservation and security.

2. Data loss due to environment
Heat and humidity are the worst enemies of computers and data storage devices. Machines that overheat have a high risk of malfunctioning, which can lead to data corruption and broken hardware. Industrial ceiling fans can provide temperature control and fresh airflow, allowing technology to run smoothly. Other environmental risk factors include floods, fires, and accidents. Spread backups across locations. Avoid keeping all data backups in the same physical space, as a disaster can wipe out all copies of data. Set ground rules with people who have access to technology; don’t allow food or drinks near data storage devices. One spill can result in thousands of dollars in lost data.

3. Hardware and software failure
It will be an amazing achievement for mankind, once technology is infallible. However, manufacturers defects still persist today. Building risks, such as electrostatic discharge (ESD) can occur when computers are assembled. The damage may weaken a circuit and not become apparent until months or years later, when a device fails. Software is also susceptible to error, as developers are continually releasing modifications and updates to existing products. Make sure to check with IT regarding any new updates prior to installation. OS compatibility and browser checks should be performed, to ensure data safety.

4. Capacity limits
Data storage can fill up quickly, and suddenly computers will hit a wall, not able to store any more information. Hard drives, computers, and servers take up physical space. Price points shoot up when purchasing smaller devices. Storage solutions that take up more physical space tend to be less expensive, since they can be cumbersome and hog room in a facility.

5. Theft
Data stored on physical mediums are unfortunately susceptible to theft. This can be remote theft, such as hackers breaking into computers from afar, or physical theft, where a robber enters a location to remove hardware. Make sure to secure data with passwords, work with IT to encrypt files, and have remote erase or tracking strategies for items that go missing.

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