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Did you know that after a catastrophic data loss event, 93% of businesses will file for bankruptcy before the end of the year, and yet 80% of all companies responded (in the same survey no less) that they were confident they would survive a major data loss event themselves? It’s statistics like these that can give a startling image to the real world of data management, and just how razor-thin this edge is that most businesses operate on. Read on to explore the nine most mind-blowing statistics on data loss and how you can best manage the risks.


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1. Less than 10% of firms back up their data every day

If you are not backing up your data daily, then you run the risk of losing valuable time, resources, and energy to re-create the work. To quote the adage, “it’s better to do the work right the first time” (and not lose the ‘subtle’ work that you did) than to do it over and over again. It’s important to ask yourself how long ago was your last backup and, if you lost everything now, how much work would you redo?


2. 93% of companies that lost their data center for ten days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster

Plus, the statistic goes on to say, “50% of businesses that found themselves without data management for this same period filed for bankruptcy immediately”*. This alarming number proves that you must have a data recovery plan in place for your business.


3. 45% of all backup failures are due to hardware failure

Statistically speaking, all hardware has a 100% chance of failure in the long term, it is just a matter of when, not if. Everything from tape decks to cloud solutions will eventually fail from mechanical failure or even format migration (link to previous article). Data backup is almost a game of hot potato, migrating files from hardware to hardware before the systems have an eventual collapse.


4. The average failure rate of backing up all data is 75%

“While 57% of IT managers have a backup solution in place, 75% of them were not able to restore all of their lost data. In fact, 23% of people with a backup solution in place weren’t able to recover any data at all. These findings were similar to those they found in the past three years of surveys, where over half of consumers and businesses reported data loss even when a backup system was in place”.

To avoid the above statistics, the obvious solution is not only backing up frequently but also TESTING the backups. A report from reveals that up to 60% of all backups are incomplete, creating only partial backups, and up to 50% of data restores can fail. This can be from a variety of reasons, from mechanical failure to data corruption. While we would suggest testing every backup to ensure that it was successful, this naturally is a bit over-zealous. Therefore, a compromise of once a month will work well.


5. Simple drive recovery can cost upwards of $7,500, and success is not guaranteed

If you suffer a catastrophic data loss event and your data backups become compromised, you might decide to try to fix the hardware, after all, the data is still physically there on the disk. However, it can be costly, and in the case of a server failure it can cost up to $7,500 per hard drive. And after all that expense, the files might not be recoverable.


6. One-third of all data loss, outside of a catastrophic event, is due to migrating devices

Knoll Ontrak surveyed 572 IT administrators in March 2016. They found that “a top reason it was hard for IT managers to recover from backup failure was that their backup wasn’t current or operating correctly”. This can be due to a lack of updating backup software, backing up incompatible versions or legacy issues. For example, you might be surprised to learn floppy disks used to be a preferred backup solution, but good luck finding a floppy disk drive in today’s world. Even more alarming is that there are signs that the CD-ROM drive is on its way out as well.


7. 20% percent of all small businesses will be hacked within one year

The statistic goes on to say: “This year, 40% of small to medium-sized businesses that manage their own network and use the Internet for more than e-mail will have their network accessed by a hacker, and more than 50% won’t even know they were attacked”. What do these hackers do? They use a device called ‘Ransomware’ to encrypt your files, and only by paying them a large sum can you get the password to decrypt them. The alternative solution is to restore a previous backup, however, be sure not to accidentally backup the encrypted files and infect your data storage as well.



8. 90% of all data in the world has been created in the last two years

Files get bigger and bigger, and we make more and more data. In 2016, the average person created 36gb per month, and 93% of people store it on a local storage device. This trend goes to show how important it is to stay current on data backups, use new technology solutions, and to best prepare for the future.

The two most exciting data backup technologies in development are Holographic disks (an expansion of CD/DVD technology) that can foreseeably store up to millions of CDs on one disk and Quantum Cloud storage, which will encode data directly into quantum particles.


Now armed with this statistical knowledge, you can understand the gravity of the key lessons below:

  • Have a data recovery plan in place to ensure that you know what to do during a catastrophic data loss event.
  • Have multiple backup solutions. Don’t just have data stored on a hard drive in the office, but also have data stored on a cloud-based solution as well. Be sure to read about the advantages and disadvantages of both here (link).
  • Back up and test your data frequently to ensure that your data is up-to-date and backed up successfully.

Written by The Sherweb Team Collaborators @ Sherweb

As a value-added cloud solutions provider, Sherweb is dedicated to providing more for its partners, direct customers and extended network. The Sherweb Blog is just one example of how we make this happen, and our team members frequently collaborate on content to ensure it's as beneficial as possible for our readers. If you like what you see here, we strongly encourage you to subscribe!