The troublesome data loss gremlins are always plotting devious new ways to destroy your most important data and ruin your day—and your livelihood. As soon as you let down your guard, they’ll sneak up on you with a nasty surprise, like a security breach, a server meltdown, or a devastating fire that will leave you and your customers scrambling to pick up the pieces.
That doesn’t mean you’re totally defenseless, though. Every data loss gremlin has a weakness, something they hate with a passion because it keeps foiling their evil plans. Knowing what these weaknesses are will help you scare off Scratch, Scorch, Klepto, Mal, Mayhem, and Whoopsie Daisy and keep your data safe.
So instead of trying to buy an industrial-size bottle of gremlin repellent, read up on the 16 secret weapons you can use to frustrate and ward off the data loss gremlins
- Preventative maintenance — Scratch specializes in destroying data through equipment failure, so nothing makes him angrier than well-maintained servers and hard drives. Protect your data and help keep this gremlin at bay by taking good care of equipment, inspecting it regularly, and performing routine maintenance.
- Redundant backups — Scratch loves to cause problems with external hard drives and other equipment used for backing up data locally. It’s like two-for-one destruction because it wipes out data and takes out your safety net too. That’s why this gremlin really hates redundant backups that protect critical information by saving another copy of the backup in a separate location.
- Offsite backups — A hot-headed gremlin, Scorch fans the flames of fires that damage buildings, destroy data, and bring business grinding to a halt. So companies that use offsite backup really make this gremlin’s blood boil. Scorch just hates watching businesses bounce back after a fire and avoid downtime because all their critical data was backed up safely in the cloud.
- Working safety equipment — It might seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes the simplest solutions are the ones that get overlooked. That’s why Scorch hates to see functioning smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. Nothing stops a good fire like safety equipment that’s properly installed and tested regularly, and personnel who are trained to use it.
- Military-grade encryption — Klepto is the gremlin with sticky fingers, always sneaking around stealing sensitive information and using it in devious ways. So this gremlin can’t stand it when companies use SSL (secure socket layers) and 256-bit AES encryption to protect data both when it’s in transit and at rest, making it impossible to decipher even if it does get intercepted.
- Two-factor authentication — Klepto enjoys hijacking user names and passwords and using them to break into sensitive accounts and steal even more data, which explains why two-factor authentication gives this gremlin the fits. This extra security measure adds another layer of authentication, such as a personal question or a fingerprint, to the log in process, making it tougher to crack.
- Consistent backups — Backups that are done on a regular basis are the arch nemesis of any gremlin.
- Informed users — Mal is a devious gremlin who uses malware to destroy data or even hold it for ransom, tricking unsuspecting users into spreading the infection and causing more damage. So this gremlin’s worst enemies are educated users who know the warning signs of a potential malware infection and don’t fall for Mal’s social engineering tricks.
- Up-to-date security software — New malware threats are introduced every day, so Mal likes to prey on companies that get lazy and think their old antivirus and antimalware protection is good enough. On the other hand, businesses that are diligent about updating all their antivirus and antimalware software regularly drive this gremlin nuts because they keep ruining all the fun.
- Backups — Infecting a system with malware feels pointless when the business can get back to business as usual simply by restoring their data from a recent backup.
- Disaster recovery plans — Mayhem has a flair for the dramatic, preferring to use natural disasters like hurricanes, tornados, and floods to dish out large-scale data destruction and ruin as many businesses as possible. That’s why this gremlin despises well-thought-out disaster recovery plans, which prepare a company to respond to a disaster appropriately and weather the storm with all their critical information intact.
- Regular business continuity testing — Mayhem loves to find all the holes in company’s business continuity and disaster recovery plan, wiping out data no one thought about protecting until it’s too late. So it really makes this gremlin angry when businesses conduct regular business continuity testing to make sure the plan works the way it should.
- Cloud backups — Destroying data just isn’t as satisfying when a company is protected by offsite backups in the cloud.
Whoopsie Daisy hates:
- The “un-do” function — User error is one of the most common reasons for data loss, and Whoopsie Daisy is a pro at causing accidental deletions and misplacing files, which explains why this gremlin hates the “un-do” function. Users love how it can save them from a close call after hitting the wrong button or clicking “OK” too quickly, but these near misses always make Whoopsie Daisy see red.
- Cups with lids — Whenever a full cup of coffee or bottle of water spills all over a laptop, wrecking equipment and trashing data, Whoopsie Daisy is always the gremlin behind it. So this gremlin simply can’t stand cautious users who take the time to put the cap back on that bottle of water or remember to use a cup with a lid. It just makes this gremlin’s job that much tougher.
- Any and all backups — A gremlin isn’t a true data loss gremlin if it doesn’t hate backups.