Data disasters can happen at any level, but for a small business these issues can be particularly challenging. Since you may be operating without a dedicated IT person or team, you’ll need to make sure you have a proper setup to prevent data disasters from happening. Here are 5 data disasters that can happen and how you can avoid them:

1. Hard drive failure

Hard drive failure can be a business-altering disaster, but if you’ve backed up your hard drive you can save yourself from a crippling issue. Backing up your hard drive is easy to do, and you have several options for how you back up your data. You can use a cloud-based back up drive, like something from Dropbox, to routinely save a copy of your information. You can also create a back up hard copy with an external hard drive. If you’re not tech-savvy, it’s best to have a professional come assist you with this process.

2. Mobile data loss

If your employees are accessing confidential company information from their mobile devices, it may be vulnerable to data breech or theft. The best practice is to have your the mobile devices your employees use outfitted with anti-malware and virtual private network (VPN) software to protect your company’s data.

3. RAID server crashing

When a server or multiple servers crash, your data can be subject to loss if it has not been properly protected. To prevent data loss from RAID server crashing and having to pay for RAID recovery, the RAID server must be constantly monitored. The second something goes wrong, a new hard drive must be replaced as soon as possible. This will help prevent further crashes and data loss. Routine maintenance is required to ensure all drives and servers are in working order. It’s best to make hard drive replacements before the hardware has crashed.

4. Failing to automate routine maintenance

Some small businesses don’t have enough budget for a dedicated IT professional, but automated monitoring of your data and hardware is inexpensive and worth the investment. By failing to automate your routine maintenance needs and alerts, you could be leaving your company’s data vulnerable to failure or malicious attack.

5. Not having a plan for data disasters

Let’s say you do your absolute best to avoid having a security breach or hardware failure, but it still happens to your company. What will you do? Regardless of what you thought might happen, if your data is gone you need to have a contingency plan in place on how you will disclose this information to clients and customers and how you plan to restore information. You’ll also need to start thinking about how you will protect your data from another event like this in the future. By creating a “what if” disaster plan, you’ll be in better shape should an incident arrive.

Most data disasters can be avoided, but if they occur you don’t need to lose your business because of it. Stay calm, invest in technology that protects your business, and keep on top of your IT.