deleted data recovery

(Photo by Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP)

Singaporean workers distressed by accidentally deleted cloud data

  • 57% of office workers have accidentally deleted vital data from cloud apps such as Office 365
  • 92% incorrectly assume that their cloud provider would be able to restore deleted files for them
  • Accidental data deletion has also caused strong emotional distress among employees

As remote and hybrid working appears to continue through 2022, one of the biggest problems workers face is how to go about with the recovery of deleted data — especially when it’s accidental.

Indeed, accidental deletion of data can and will happen when working on various devices.

And thus, a key question on the minds of a lot of people is — how can you recover accidentally deleted data?

In fact, the need for recovery of accidental data deletion is so great that a global study from Veritas Technologies showed that 57% of office workers have accidentally deleted vital data from cloud apps such as Office 365, with 14% doing so multiple times per week.

What’s more concerning is that almost all respondents (92%) incorrectly assume that their cloud provider would be able to restore deleted files for them. Also, 44% incorrectly think data in the cloud is safe from ransomware.

Accidental data deletion has also caused strong emotional distress among employees, especially when they realize their lost data is gone forever. The stress is made worse by a culture of punishment incorporating shame and fear.

As such, almost one-third of employees lied to cover up the fact they had accidentally deleted office data and 26% said they kept quiet because they were ashamed. Another 25% said they would either do nothing or pretend nothing had happened in a ransomware incident—making it difficult for businesses to limit the impact of the breach.

In today’s fast-paced environment, speed is essential, especially when it comes to data. Any delays to data access or recovery, be it by accidental deletion, or being locked out by ransomware, can lead to huge problems for an organization. Backup service providers continue to advocate the importance of having sufficient backup and recovery tools for such incidences.

To understand better about deleted data recovery, Tech Wire Asia spoke to Andy Ng, Vice President and Managing Director for Asia South and Pacific Region at Veritas Technologies. Andy explains how accidentally deleting data may not be the end of the world for employees, provided they have the right data recovery programs in place.

(source – Shutterstock)

Is it possible to recover deleted work data?

Most cloud storage services will allow users to recover deleted files within a certain time window, for example, 30 days. However, recovery is not guaranteed and varies across different cloud service providers. In general, cloud storage services will automatically clear your trash after a stipulated period to free up space. Depending on how much storage has been used up, some files might be deleted sooner than expected. Additionally, the deleted files will also be erased from the cloud the next time your system syncs.

Not all backup and recovery solutions are created equal, so organizations need to identify what they actually need. For organizations that are looking at enterprise-grade backup and recovery capabilities beyond the built-in cloud protection, they would require a comprehensive toolset that provides full-coverage backup with flexible recovery options, plus a high level of performance and scalability.

This would enable organizations to protect, recover and archive their data, including deleted work data. For example, a backup and archive solution that uses immutable storage would help to protect data against unwanted deletion and modification.

What are the biggest concerns around the recovery of deleted data?

It is disturbing that nearly all the Singapore employees (92%) polled in the Veritas study thought their cloud provider would be able to restore their files for them. This false confidence in cloud data protection is causing businesses to lose critical data.

Unknown to some, a bad deletion – either accidental or malicious – could go unnoticed past the prescribed expiry date. There is no backup copy available for these expired items. Similarly, there is no option for recovery for items that have been deleted permanently.

The challenge is further compounded by the accelerated adoption of the cloud, which leaves organizations exposed to ransomware vulnerabilities as more cybercriminals are looking to exploit proprietary data stored in cloud services due to the integral role they play in today’s business environment.

According to the latest Veritas research, many employees are not forthcoming with ransomware incidents, with just 31% in Singapore saying they would immediately admit introducing ransomware into their organizations, and another 25% saying they would either do nothing or pretend nothing had happened.

As such, without knowing the full details of a ransomware attack, it is harder for businesses to take swift remedial action to limit its impact. With the surge in ransomware attacks, this is a security gap that companies must quickly address or risk disruption and downtime for their businesses.

How can businesses ensure employees take responsibility?

Businesses should set clear retention policies to determine how long data should be retained for operational and compliance needs, who has access to the data, and classify data storage according to tiers.

Employees should be fully trained on the policies and tools that are being deployed – this will help to reduce accidental policy breaches including data deletion, and ensure employees know how to access and retrieve data that is lost or corrupted promptly.

Companies should also eliminate the culture of shame and punishment, and instead foster one where employees are encouraged, rather than blamed, for coming forward when they report data loss incidents.

Changing the dynamics of incident reporting would also help to empower businesses to take prompt remedial action in the event of data loss or ransomware incidents.

Some programs can autosave files or warn users before a file or data is deleted. Should this process be enhanced so employees understand it better?

Such features can be beneficial, but human error or malicious deletion and system downtime would still lead to data loss. Employees could potentially be the weakest link and it pays for organizations to educate employees on the importance of adopting sound data hygiene habits.

It is also important to realize that cloud service providers operate on a shared responsibility model – they provide the applications, but it is up to businesses to protect their application data. It is every business’s responsibility to protect their own data, whether in the cloud or stored on their own devices. If businesses can get that right and make it easy for workers to restore lost files, then they can take the pressure off their employees.

What does help, therefore, is deploying comprehensive SaaS data protection tools to back up data across all cloud applications. This allows businesses to recover from all data loss scenarios while also eliminating threats such as ransomware and accidental or malicious data deletion.