Exploring the Four Major Causes of Data Loss

Data losses can cost organisations time, money and customers, so it is imperative that plans are in place to minimise both the probability of losses occurring, and their potential impact. But just how can we do that when the second biggest contributor is human error?

According to the most recent DRPB report on IT professionals, the four biggest causes of data loss were identified as:

1 – Software and network failure (50%)

2 – Human error (44%)

3 – Power failure (24%)

4 – Weather (14%)

We can readily see that some of these potential issues are very much within our control, such as power or network failure, there are others which are much harder for your organisation to have an effective solution for.

Having said that, ensuring you have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place ensures that your organisation can robustly protect itself against data loss events that we cannot necessarily predict. Whilst planning for power failure could lead to your organisation having a secondary, resilient power source or alternative office location, dealing with disasters caused by inclement weather or environmental extremes are more difficult to counter.

Unexpected disasters often create an increased level of panic and uncertainty, which makes them more difficult to contain, but with a disaster recovery plan in place it becomes significantly easier to get employees and your organisation back up and running – perhaps from a remote or alternative location, working from copies of files that are stored within a secure secondary data centre.

Having such plans is great, but they need to be regularly tested. It never fails to surprise just how many organisations do not identify the need to thoroughly test their disaster recovery plans, but failing to plan is planning to fail, especially when the theoretical plan you have created has not been validated as being able to work in practice.

Whether you test your disaster recovery plan in-house or work with your service provider to do so, you should make sure your organisation knows that should the worst happen you are benefiting from maximum protection, and have the capability to get back up and running as quickly as possible.