Your Data

6 Proven Ways To Ensure Your Data Is Protected During Emergencies

published on: 17.04.2023 last updated on: 04.10.2023

Data is one of the most valuable assets for businesses and individuals alike. However, data can also be vulnerable to disasters like floods, fires, earthquakes, cyberattacks, or theft.

If you lose your data due to an emergency, you may face serious consequences, such as financial losses, legal issues, customer dissatisfaction, or identity theft.

This blog post will share some practical tips for safeguarding your data before an emergency strikes. These tips will help you prepare for any scenario and minimize the impact of a crisis on your data security and integrity.

1. Make Copies and Store Critical Documents and Valuables in a Safe and Accessible Location

 Store Critical Documents

The first step to safeguarding your data is to store (backups) your most important documents somewhere they can’t be destroyed or hacked. Then, you should be the only one to access it anytime.

Remember to store the copies/backups separately from the original ones.

Some of the documents and valuables that you should store include:

  • Vital records (birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce certificates, adoption papers, child custody papers)
  • Passports
  • Driver’s licenses
  • Social Security cards
  • Green cards
  • Military service identification
  • Pet ownership papers
  • Financial documents (bank statements, credit card statements, loan documents, tax returns)
  • Legal documents (wills, trusts, power of attorney)
  • Medical information
  • Living wills
  • Caregiver agency contracts or service agreements
  • Disabilities documentation
  • Contact information for doctors/specialists/dentists/pediatricians/veterinarians

Some of the options for storing them include:

A. Fireproof Safes

These metal boxes can withstand high temperatures and protect your documents from fire damage.

They come in different sizes and shapes and can be locked with a key or a combination. You can keep them at home or the office.

B. Cloud Services

These online platforms, like Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive, etc. allow you to store your data on remote servers accessible via the Internet.

They offer features such as encryption, synchronization, backup, recovery, sharing, collaboration, etc.

C. Encrypted Drives

Encryption is converting data into an unreadable format that can only be decoded with a key or password.

You can apply encryption to data at rest (stored on devices) or in transit (transferred over the internet/network).

Encryption software/hardware such as BitLocker and SecureDrive can be used for data at rest, while encryption protocols like SSL and VPN and services like Signal and WhatsApp can be used for data in transit.

2. Wipe Data from Devices That Are No Longer Needed or Damaged

As part of your data backup and recovery strategies, you should also decide what to do with your old or unused hard drives that contain sensitive data.

One option is to use a hard drive shredding service that can securely and permanently destroy your hard drives by cutting, crushing, or shredding them into tiny pieces and prevent any data recovery or breach.

You can also use software erasers (like DBAN, and CCleaner) that overwrite your data with random or meaningless data multiple times until it is impossible to recover.

However, wiping data isn’t always recommended. You should only wipe data from your devices or drives in the following situations:

  • When you dispose of or donate your old devices or drives to someone else
  • When you leave your devices or drives behind during an evacuation or relocation
  • When your devices or drives are damaged or destroyed by a disaster

3. Develop a Formal Plan for Data Management and Protection During Emergencies

Businesses should always have a plan that outlines how their business will handle its data in an emergency.

The plan should include a list of the potential risks and threats to your data, define the roles and responsibilities of your team members, and establish the procedures and protocols for data backup and recovery.

4. Use Strong Passwords

Strong Passwords

You should use strong passwords to protect your data from unauthorized access or theft. Your password should be long, complex, unique, and unpredictable.

It should contain a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, symbols, and spaces. It should not contain any personal information, common words, patterns, or sequences.

You should also follow some best practices for passwords, such as:

  • Use different passwords for different accounts or devices
  • Change your passwords periodically
  • Use password managers to store and generate passwords securely
  • Use two-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security
  • Don’t write down or share your passwords with anyone

5. Educate and Train Staff on Data Management and Protection

Human factors are a major cause of data loss or breach. According to a study by Kaspersky Lab, 52% of businesses admit that employees are their biggest weakness in IT security.

Staff can cause data loss or breach by making mistakes. Some examples of human errors or behaviors are:

  • Accidentally deleting or overwriting data
  • Forgetting to back up or restore data
  • Losing or misplacing devices that contain data
  • Sharing passwords or sensitive information with others
  • Clicking on phishing links or opening malicious attachments
  • Downloading unauthorized software or applications
  • Bypassing security protocols or policies

You should educate and train staff on data management and protection to prevent human errors or behaviors that can compromise data. You should:

  • Provide clear and consistent policies and guidelines on how staff should handle data
  • Explain the importance and benefits of safeguarding data
  • Demonstrate how to use the tools and technologies for data backup and recovery
  • Teach how to recognize and avoid potential threats or risks to data
  • Encourage feedback and questions from staff on any data-related issues
  • Reward good practices and behaviors for safeguarding data

6. Review and Update the Data Plan and Tools Periodically

According to a report by IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach in 2021 was $4.24 million, the highest in 17 years.

The report also found that data breaches took an average of 287 days to identify and contain. One of the main reasons behind this is not updating the most recent regulations and software.

Data management and protection are not one-time activities. Instead, they require constant monitoring and improvement to meet changing business needs and environmental conditions.

You should test and update your plan by doing the following:

  • Conducting drills or simulations to practice your plan and evaluate its performance
  • Reviewing feedback or reports from the drills or simulations and making necessary adjustments or improvements
  • Checking for changes in technology or regulations that may affect your plan and updating it accordingly
  • Reviewing your plan at least once a year or whenever there is a major change in your situation
Update the Data Plan


Safeguarding your data from digital threats before an emergency strike is a smart move and a necessity.

By following these tips, you can protect your data from damage or destruction, restore your data quickly and easily, protect your company from data breach lawsuits, and maintain your business continuity and reputation.

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Arnab Das is a passionate blogger who loves to write on different niches like technologies, dating, finance, fashion, travel, and much more.

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