Causes of data loss and some statistics

By | June 19th, 2009

Causes of data loss and statistics
Nearly 1 of 2 people (46%) lose data every year according to a study of Backblaze customers. Shocking? It surprised me at first glance, but then I dug in deeper.

Drive Failures
According to a Google study of hard drive failures, disk drives over a year old have about a 1 in 10 chance of failure each year. At this rate 1 of every 2 drives will fail every 5 years. A person that has a hard drive in their computer and an external drive for that period is nearly guaranteed to have one die.

Computer Theft and Computer Loss
15% of households annually experience burglary or theft according to the Bureau of Justice. While statistics are not available for what was stolen, when a home is burglarized, a computer is a likely target. According to the Ponemon Institute, 637,000 laptops are lost at airports across the country every year. How many more in taxi cabs, coffee shops, and at vacation destinations?

Viruses and Software Corruption
Various surveys across the web have shown that viruses cause 4% – 7% of all data loss. Add software corruption to the mix, boot sector issues, registry issues, etc. and this starts becoming significant.

Flooding, Fire, Earthquakes, and Other Disasters
According to FEMA, about 1 in 10 households that have flood insurance suffer a loss each year due to flood damage. Half a million buildings catch fire every year based on USFA statistics. Nearly 200 earthquakes with a magnitude of 6.0 or greater occur worldwide annually according to the USGS. Computers are sensitive devices and don’t like to be wet, hot, or shaken.

Human Error
“Oops” is the #2 most common cause of data loss (after hardware failure) according to data recovery specialist Ontrack. Is the delete key too big on the keyboard? Blame it on that…but all of us have done it and wished there there were an undo key that was just as big.

Losing data doesn’t always mean a hard drive crash. Sometimes it just means we deleted a folder (with our kids photos) or our dog knocked over an external drive (with our music library.) Whatever the cause, based on the actual needs of our customers, the various causes of data loss compile to require 1 of every 2 customers to restore data each year.

Gleb Budman
Co-founder and CEO of Backblaze. Founded three prior companies. He has been a speaker at GigaOm Structure, Ignite: Lean Startup, FailCon, CloudCon; profiled by Inc. and Forbes; a mentor for Teens in Tech; and holds 5 patents on security.

Follow Gleb on: Twitter / LinkedIn / Google+
Category: Backing Up · Data Loss