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If a Thief Doesn’t Get Your Data, These Things Probably Will

Human Error

Kevin Mitnick was once named the “most wanted computer criminal in US history” by the US Department of Justice. After spending five years in prison for his overwhelming level of invasion of privacy, he addressed the government saying that the weakest link in the security chain is people, not protective software or security measures. Statistics show that human error is responsible for anywhere between 70-100% of incidents.

The founder of an app development company was cleaning up a database and deleted a table with an unusual name that he assumed was something from a past experiment. Within five minutes, he was receiving emails about clients’ business plans that were deleted. He had accidentally deleted 26,000 business plans. Fortunately, the hosting provider was able to restore his database back to the day before. Human error has no boundaries.

Human error can cause:

  • Data to be deleted by mistake. There are troubleshooting methods that may be able to help recover a deleted file, but sometimes even that doesn’t work.
  • Backup failures that result in data loss.
  • Data being misfiled. You rely on your staff to create file names that allow for easy and quick retrieval and to hopefully not make errors typing them, but despite rules and training, errors still occur.
  • Damaged and corrupted data. Data errors and loss can occur when a hard drive is damaged by being accidentally dropped, broken, soaked, exposed to a power surge or loss, when the computer gets too hot, or if it is not maintained properly. Worst of all, hard drives can fail for no discernable reason at all, and both hardware and software are vulnerable to failure.


Problems that are beyond your control can happen at any time. Technical disasters include software malfunctions or hardware failures that affect the data on your computer system. These can be caused by aging or damaged hardware. Errors in the operating system can cause software to crash.

For example, World War 3 was nearly instigated in 1983 by a software bug in Russia’s intercontinental ballistic missile early warning system. A fault in the software caused by satellites picking up sunlight reflecting off the top of clouds caused the system to report that the US had launched five likely-nuclear ballistic missiles. Fortunately, Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov had a gut feeling that the US would have launched more than five missiles and chose not to retaliate with Russia’s own nuclear missiles. This is one glitch that would have destroyed more than just a few computer files!

Natural disasters can also cause data loss, including power outages, fires, floods, severe storms, or any other Act of God. Natural disasters are a perfect example of why backup copies of files must be stored at different locations. Consider the backup rule of three: The 3-2-1 backup strategy says you should have 3 copies of your data on two different media with one copy kept off-site for disaster recovery. Using an electronic vaulting service is an excellent foundation for your three-pronged backup plan.

Avoiding human error and disasters is difficult, and sometimes impossible, but regular staff training is helpful in minimizing these challenges. Partnering with a reputable records management company gives you access to their experience, expertise, and records storage facility.

Records Management Center in Augusta, GA offers records management, secure shredding and destruction, data backup, e-vaulting, and file restoration services to businesses of every size in Augusta, Evans, Thomson, and Martinez, GA, Aiken, SC, and the Central Savannah River Area. We help you keep your data safe and secure from human error, disasters, and thieves. Give us a call at 706-724-7982 or complete the form on this page to discuss your data protection requirements, and one of our friendly experts can tailor the perfect solution for your situation.