Why a Data Recovery Plan Is Critical in Today’s Society

December 9, 2021 - Ellie Gabel

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In today’s world, people send and receive data while engaging in activities for business and pleasure. Information gets collected when they shop online, use internet banking, chat with friends and take part in a wide assortment of other activities. There’s not always enough emphasis placed on data recovery, though. 

Companies can use the associated information to enhance their marketing efforts, personalize their content and otherwise drive value for consumers while strengthening their business models. 

However, things can quickly go very wrong if there is no comprehensive data recovery process in place. Here are some of the specific reasons why planning how to restore information in emergencies is so essential to overall resilience. 

Remote Working Could Make Data Loss More Likely

The COVID-19 pandemic was a major factor spurring a widespread transition to full or partial remote work for teams across a wide range of industries. Many people love working from home, especially because they can eliminate long and often-stressful commutes. Unfortunately, research indicates remote working arrangements could raise the risk of data loss. 

Remote Workers Frequently Cause Data Loss Via Email

A 2021 report from Egress compiled feedback from remote workers and the IT leaders of their employers. The findings showed that 95% of the IT leadership believed email-based channels posed risks to client and company-related information.

Relatedly, 83% of the polled organizations experienced data breaches via email channels in the last year. In 24% of cases, issues happened when workers made message-related blunders, such as attaching the wrong file to an email or sending sensitive content to unintended recipients.

Another interesting conclusion was that 85% of employees reported sending more emails while working remotely compared to in the office. Additionally, 59% of IT leaders said data leak incidents rose since their companies began allowing remote work. 

Employees also cited pandemic-related stress as a factor in making more mistakes, with 73% saying they felt worse during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Data Safety Practices Performed Less Often at Home

Another reason remote working potentially elevates the need for a data recovery plan is that research indicates 48% of people don’t keep data as safe if interacting with it at home versus the office. Plus, 52% of those polled believed they could get away with riskier data-handling behavior at home. 

The most common reason for failing to follow the rules, mentioned by 50% of those respondents in a 2020 study, was that they weren’t working on their usual devices. Then, 48% were less likely to follow safe data practices at home because they knew their IT teams weren’t watching them. Distractions were cited by 47% of respondents, too.

The study also got perspectives from IT leaders. Since 91% of them trusted employees to follow data safety practices at home, they perhaps had too much confidence in the respective workforces.  However, 84% of IT leaders admitted it was harder to use a data loss prevention plan with people working remotely. 

These findings illustrate why it’s so important to have a data recovery strategy if all or most of the team works from home. It’s best to prevent lost information, such as by letting people use the devices they know or helping the IT department maintain an accessible presence to remote workers. However, creating a data recovery plan is a smart way to limit the consequences when things go wrong. 

Ransomware Remains a Real Threat

When people initially start pondering the need for data recovery, they might imagine scenarios where their hard drives fail or they spill coffee on their laptops, making the information on them unrecoverable. That’s why it’s important to have a backup hard drive.

Those situations certainly can and do happen. However, it’s also necessary to be mindful of how a ransomware attack could cause an immediate need to activate a data recovery plan.  

Paying the Ransom Is Not a Reliable Data Recovery Tactic

Ransomware locks down a victim’s files and demands they pay a certain amount. The idea is that doing that should let the affected party have their access restored. However, it often doesn’t work out like that. 

A global study of 2020 ransomware attacks found that most people (56%) paid to have their data restored in those instances. However, complete data recovery only happened in 29% of cases. 

Half of the respondents who paid said they lost some files. A further breakdown indicated that 32% lost a significant amount of data, and 18% had a small number of files permanently compromised. In 13% of cases, paying to regain data access resulted in no recovery of the information.

Paying the ransom may seem like the most accessible data recovery solution. Plus, in their panic, people may lack the confidence that they can get the files back through means other than giving in to a cybercriminal’s demand. 

However, this study’s conclusions are a sobering reminder that paying the ransom is a strategy not likely to work. Ideally, people should only consider it in the most desperate situations, such as if the data recovery initiative they had in place did not work as expected. 

Today’s Malware Raises the Need for Data Recovery

Cybersecurity researchers are well aware of how malware changes frequently. Many regularly track trends, such as to see which types are most prominent in a given quarter or full year. One study found that many types of 2021’s popularly deployed malware are highly likely to encrypt information, meaning people could get severely affected by it without putting foresight into data recovery. 

More specifically, 1 in 5 malware variants can make data inaccessible by encrypting it. Another worrisome finding was that the malware is more sophisticated now than it was even in 2020. Today’s types perform an average of 11 malicious activities in a system, which is two more than last year’s average. 

A comprehensive plan to stop malware before it affects systems can help, but that’s not true in all cases. The study showed two-thirds of malware used today features evasion-detection aspects, making it less likely that current systems will pick it up and alert IT teams. 

Clarifying Employees’ Rights to Use Information Minimizes the Need for Data Recovery

An event termed “The Great Resignation” involves people leaving their current jobs en masse, finding a new employer in the same industry, changing careers or retiring. 

Analysts cite numerous reasons for it. Most reasons for leaving connect to COVID-19, such as: 

  • Inability to find child care, especially with many daycares and schools forbidding symptomatic kids to attend
  • Fear of contracting COVID-19 at work, especially if employers did not take the virus seriously or did not accommodate the needs of their at-risk team members
  • A renewed perspective of what’s important in life causing people to realize it’s not worth staying at workplaces associated with unfair treatment, low pay or too much stress
  • A desire to find jobs that allow permanent remote working, especially once employees got used to it and found they didn’t want to return to their offices once employers called them back

Employees May Take Data When Departing 

An important way to reduce the need to activate a data recovery plan is to be upfront with workers about data ownership.  For example, clarify that information is not theirs to take when leaving the company. 

It may also be necessary to implement monitoring measures that oversee how employees use cloud storage apps. One study found they were uploading three times as much information as normal to personal cloud applications in their final 30 days at work. 

Ray Canzanese is the threat research director at Netskope, which performed the study. He said, “Regardless of whether the so-called ‘Great Resignation’ is real or perceived, it’s a fact that employees leaving an organization pose an increasingly bigger insider security threat to organizations when they take company data with them.”

That conclusion suggests preventing the need to engage in data recovery later starts with putting constraints on how people access the information. Perhaps they can only view it in a dedicated company interface and do not have downloading privileges. 

Another possibility is for the company to take a zero-trust approach, where the assumption is that every party is a possible risk, and they must prove their right to access the data. For example, if a person tries to access data from somewhere other than their workplace, that request would not succeed. Neither would one where a person attempts to retrieve information that does not align with their position and duties. 

View Data Recovery as Essential

Some companies are lucky enough to never go through the situations discussed here. But, it isn’t very responsible to plan on having such fortunate outcomes. The better approach is to assume it’ll be necessary to engage in data recovery steps at some point. The more preparation there is for eventual information loss, the faster the recovering can occur.

Revolutionized is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn more here.


Ellie Gabel

Ellie Gabel is a science writer specializing in astronomy and environmental science and is the Associate Editor of Revolutionized. Ellie's love of science stems from reading Richard Dawkins books and her favorite science magazines as a child, where she fell in love with the experiments included in each edition.


  1. […] and belongings you’ve accomplished for the corporate throughout your time as a temp. Possibly you pioneered an information restoration plan that saved your employer hundreds of thousands or secured a sale that introduced in quite a lot of […]

  2. […] are worrying statistics, especially since a study conducted elsewhere revealed that 52% of remote workers believed they could engage in riskier data-handling activities at home without getting caught.  Manak Ahluwalia is the […]

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