What Causes Data Loss?

[Preface: This is an excerpt to the 7 Shortcuts to Losing Your Data (and Probably Your Job) white paper and the 7 Shortcuts to Losing Your Data (and Probably Your Job) webinar; click on the respective links to get the white paper or to get access to a pre-recorded webinar (or sign up for a live webinar.)]

What Causes Data Loss?

In order to understand shortcuts to losing your data, the first thing we need to do is understand the most common reasons that data is lost.

The primary causes of data loss are:

  • Human failure
  • Human error
  • Software corruption
  • Theft
  • Computer viruses
  • Hardware destruction

The results of the two best studies regarding data loss in the real world are depicted as follows:

Root Cause: Incident %
Hardware failure: 40%
Human error: 29%
Software corruption: 13%
Theft: 9%
Computer viruses: 6%
Hardware destruction: 3%
Source: David M. Smith, Ph.D., Pepperdine University
Root Cause: Customer Perception: Actual Incident %
Hardware or system problem: 78%: 56%
Human error: 11%: 26%
Software corruption: 7%: 9%
Computer viruses: 2%: 4%
Natural disasters: 1%: 2%
Source: Kroll OnTrack Data Recovery Services


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