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data loss causes human error

Biggest Data Loss Causes? Hardware, Software & Bob

by Laura Knight

National disasters and high-profile cyber attacks may make for flashy headlines, but they’re hardly the biggest perpetrators of enterprise data loss. A new cloud study reveals that at least one in five data loss errors can be chalked up to an employee inadvertently deleting a file, or similar facepalm moment.

Turns out, Bob from Accounting is a bigger threat to your company’s data than Godzilla (depending on how eventful the helpdesk has been lately, you may have suspected this already).

recent survey by a UK backup company found that employee mistakes were responsible for missing data among 18% of respondents, ranking a close third behind software failure (19%) and hardware failure (21%). In comparison, the kind of incidents that get highly publicized – internal or external data breaches, for example – were the root cause for 7% and 6% of respondents respectively, while natural disasters were cited by 5%.

It’s interesting to note that company size played a role in the findings – bigger companies seemed much more vulnerable to the “crap, wrong button!” variety of data loss. Twenty-two percent of large organizations listed human error as the main cause of data loss incidents over the last year, compared to only 6% of small shops.

These results are in line with findings from the Ponemon Institute, a research firm specializing in privacy and information security issues. Over the last few years, Ponemon has published multiple reports that rank employee negligence and human error as the most rampant source of data breaches and data loss.

The good news is, as cloud adoption for backup & DR picks up, this problem might start getting better. More than half of respondents (56%) are replicating backups to the cloud as a means of getting data offsite, compared to 17% copying data to tape and then storing tapes offsite. As companies migrate off tape and introduce online backup instead, the human error potential is greatly reduced (because let’s be real, any plan that relies on someone never forgetting to change a tape – especially a non-IT person at a remote office – is pretty much a time bomb).

The takeaway from all this is that, while hurricanes and hackers might get all the press, focusing your backup strategy on just big-ticket disasters is a mistake. Since you’re much more likely to lose an important file or three due to employee mistakes, make sure you can recover individual files from your backups quickly and easily (we can help with that). It’s important to be ready to recover from Godzilla…but it’s just as important to be ready for Bob.

Laura Knight
Laura Knight

As Content Marketing Manager, Laura writes, edits, designs and is always on the lookout for new ways to tell the Zetta story.