Data Loss Statistics

Data Loss Statistics image

Over the last couple of decades, data has become the foundation for any decision-making process. Collecting, processing, and analyzing it has become a key task among companies wishing to outperform their competition. For reference, there are over 40 zettabytes of data worldwide today, while in 2013, zettabytes didn’t even exist.

With this much data in circulation, it stands to reason that some of it gets lost, significantly impacting businesses as well as individuals. These data loss statistics will show you the scale of the problem and how companies are planning to prevent and handle potential data loss.

Data Loss Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • 28% of ransomware attacks cause data loss. (InvenioIT)
  • 33% of company folders aren’t well protected. (InvenioIT)
  • 20% of respondents claim they haven’t tested their disaster recovery plans or don’t have them. (451 Research)
  • 37% of SMBs have experienced data loss in the cloud. (InvenioIT)
  • 49% of server outages lead to over $100,000 losses to companies. (451 Research)
  • 60% of small companies cease to exist within six months of a data breach. (Cybercrime Magazine)

Some Essential Statistics on Data Loss

1. About one in 100 hard drives fails annually.

Hard drives have an expiration date. The same applies to the drives in companies’ servers, which could cause server outages. In turn, this outage is one of the common causes of data loss. Approximately 0.93% of hard drives fail, and despite the small percentage, the businesses that depend on them (plus don’t have backups) face a dire future. Therefore, drives should be replaced occasionally, and data backup practice should be done regularly.


2. Ransomware attacks account for 27% of the malware activity.

Ransomware is one of the common causes of data loss, statistics confirm. It’s a malware type that prevents users from accessing their data by inserting a key that hackers only know. Then the attacker tries to extort ransom for the data. Also, the attacker might threaten to sell the encrypted data. These attacks often result in financial losses, permanent loss of sensitive info and data, and disruption of business, which all lead to a negative brand image.


3. 28% of ransomware attacks cause data loss.

Although the percentage is not as high as expected, it’s still relevant and calls for all data loss preventive measures to protect the company’s interests. Because of the impact of data loss on business, it could be fatal even on a smaller scale. Data loss stats confirm that in 13% of ransomware attacks, data was stolen from businesses. FBI urges companies not to pay ransom to cybercriminals, or only as a last resort. The first step should always be to restore the data from backup, rolling back to the point prior to the infection.


4. Software failure is the most common reason for outage and data loss, with 22%.

The recent report on outages is the best argument in favor of organizations protecting their infrastructure on many levels. According to it, no incidents have resulted from a specific factor, but many factors caused the outages. Besides 22% saying software failure led to it, 20% claim it’s due to hardware failures, data loss statistics confirm. Security issues were the reasons for outages in 17% of cases, followed by the ones caused by human error (15%). Facility power and network failure with 15% and 6%, respectively, are also on the list, despite being the byproduct of natural disasters. Finally, cloud failure was one of the reasons as well, with 2% of respondents claiming it led to outages.

(451 Research)

5. 33% of companies’ folders aren’t well protected.

According to a recent survey, around a third of all folders used by companies lack security, and everyone can access them. A large number of organizations need to restrict their access only to employees who need to work with certain folders or introduce two-factor authentification and permissions, data loss prevention statistics confirm.


6. Just 45% of companies consider their security budget appropriate.

Data loss stats indicate that more than half of surveyed companies believe their security budgets don’t cover cyberattacks brought on by remote work expansion. Further, only 39% claim that their employees have enough skills to tackle the defense against cyber attackers. Also, more than half of businesses (51%) don’t have incident response plans in case of cyber-attacks and data breaches. Still, 77% cited a potential increase in spending on cybersecurity in the near future.


7. 97% of data gets recovered after a ransomware attack.

Data loss recovery statistics indicate that although most companies recover some data after getting infected by ransomware, not many of them recover all the lost data; only 8% actually do. The average victim loses approximately 35% of the data. Further, 29% recover no more than half of the stolen data, while 65% recover an average amount of data after paying the ransom.


8. External attacks account for 69% of all data breaches.

In 52% of the cases, it’s some kind of compromise (hacking), followed by 33% social engineering. Further, 28% of attackers used malware. Other than outside attacks, 34% of attackers included internal actors. Moreover, 2% involved partners, while 5% resulted from multiple parties. In 39% of cases, it was the doing of organized criminal groups. Finally, in 23% of the breaches, participants involved nation-state actors.


9. In 2020, there were over 1,000 registered data breaches in the US alone.

Based on statistics on data loss, throughout 2020, data exposure affected around 155.8 million records. This was primarily due to poor information security. Back in 2017, there were 1,632 recorded data breaches in the US, followed by 1,257 in 2018 and 1,473 in 2019.


10. In 2020, the Dutch government lost two external hard disks with the personal data of over 6.9 million organ donors.

Despite the government’s claims that there was no evidence someone used the data, it was an impactful incident. The government lost two external hard disks with information on all donor forms filed with the Donor Register between 1998 and 2010.


11. Apollo experienced the biggest security attack in 2018 and lost nine billion customer records.

It was one of the biggest data breaches in history. People Data Labs and Yahoo are next on the list, data loss statistics reveal. People Data Labs lost over 1.2 billion records containing phone numbers and email addresses. Similarly, in 2013, Yahoo saw over three billion accounts being compromised.

(Wired, NY Times)

12. 59% of surveyed people claimed that phishing and online scams have increased since COVID-19.

All these schemes have one primary purpose — stealing personal data. Phishing stats show that from January to June 2020, there were nine million recorded threats of this kind. Next, 36% of respondents claimed malware and ransomware as the second most common threat. Further, malicious domains with the words corona and COVID were next on the list (with 22% of respondents). Finally, 14% claimed fake news spreading false info also presented a serious cyber threat.

(Info Mineo)

Business Data Loss Statistics

13. 30% of companies experience data loss due to server outages.

A recent report indicates that server outages are one of the common data loss causes among businesses of all sizes and shapes. This happens despite the availability of many solutions for backup like disaster recovery and cloud storage services. Without data, most organizations are ‘blind’ in their decision-making processes. In fact, 49% of organizations claim that data analytics helps them improve their business.


14. In 2022, 60% of all corporate data will be stored in the cloud.

The latest stats on data suggest that companies keep half of all global corporate data on the cloud. In 2015, this share was 30%, and over the years, it progressively increased with the expansion of this technology. One of the reasons companies keep data on the cloud is better security, reliability, and higher scalability.


15. 84% of all businesses stored data and backups in the cloud.

In 2019, the majority of companies kept their data in the cloud and used it for backup. Moreover, an additional 8% planned to do the same in 2020. However, data recovery plays a much more important role for the average small venture. So, 93% of small businesses embraced cloud storage as the best and most cost-effective solution.


16. 20% of respondents claim they either haven’t tested their disaster recovery plans or don’t have them.

Business data loss prevention statistics show that a significant portion of companies (14%) have never tested the functionality of their disaster recovery plans, or some simply don’t have them (6%). DR helps companies store and restore important data easily in case of an incident. However, never testing the endurance of their infrastructure has been a weak spot for many companies, easily jeopardizing their DR capabilities.

(451 Research)

17. About 30% of organizations don’t do recovery testing.

Potential disaster recovery testing is one of the best ways to ensure a company is safe in case of an incident. Furthermore, it’s one of the most important measures for data loss prevention, statistics confirm. However, a recent survey reveals that 36% of the companies that haven’t experienced downtime also never tested their ability to recover. On top of that, 22% of the companies that did experience downtime confirmed they didn’t perform recovery tests too. Yet, there is some positive data now — 12% more companies than four years ago conduct annual testing.


18. 37% of small and medium businesses lost customers due to downtime.

Downtime could provoke major issues for SMBs. It’s one of the common causes of data loss among these companies. Moreover, it creates business disruption and affects employees’ productivity. According to the latest reports, the IT systems of nearly one-quarter of SMBs have gone off lately, and 17% of companies even lost revenue due to this issue, data loss stats indicate.


19. 37% of SMBs have experienced data loss in the cloud.

Since it’s affordable and more practical for small companies to keep their data in the cloud, many opt for this strategy. Still, organizations could face data loss in the cloud as well. Therefore, it’s important to leverage an adequate system that usually relies on multiple solutions. However, one of the best strategies for small and medium-sized businesses is to consult with companies dealing with data loss prevention and recovery.


20. 43% of cyber attackers hit small businesses.

SMBs in insurance, retail, legal, financial services, and healthcare are under frequent attacks from cybercriminals. Recent IBM research only confirms this, claiming that 40% of SMBs have been under attack by cybercriminals since the pandemic started. Also, statistics on data loss show that the main reason why attackers target SMBs is that the owners of these companies often don’t understand the true nature of cybercrime or easily succumb to ransom notes. Finally, many hackers use them to get to bigger companies.


21. 94% of small businesses receive malware via email.

Most small companies get infected through email. Around 45% of detected malware came through Office documents, while 26% were sent through Windows App files.


22. 96% of companies faced a system outage in a three-year period.

Most companies have gone through an outage issue at least once in the past few years. Moreover, 95% have experienced at least one brownout. All of this could affect business data loss, statistics confirm. Most organizations (36%) have seen one to four brownouts. Similarly, most organizations (41%) have experienced the same number of outages.


Cost of Data Loss

23. 49% of server outages lead to over $100,000 losses to companies.

Companies that experience server outages could face devastating financial costs. For instance, some of the largest organizations with over 10,000 employees usually face more outages. According to 13% of the respondents from these companies, they cost them over $1 million. In the case of mid-size companies (1,000-9,999 employees), 8% went through the same amount of cost and more, data loss statistics show.

(451 Research)

24. With 49%, loss of worker productivity is the most frequent negative impact of data loss.

The cost of data loss is not only financial. Organizations could face multiple impacts. Among other things, employees' loss in productivity is the top reason named by most respondents. Another important issue is the loss of reputation (35%) and customer loyalty (19%). Not to mention that companies lose revenue on top of everything else (28%) and pay compliance-related penalties (23%), data loss statistics indicate.

(451 Research)

25. 60% of small companies cease to exist within six months of a data breach.

Data breaches are a major concern for any organization, especially for smaller companies. Hence, they must put all measures in place to prevent any data loss. It is so since the average cost of data recovery can go up to $3.62 million for a single breach. On top of financial issues, companies should worry about network security since the attacks can compromise the brand's reputation and jeopardize customers’ trust, data loss statistics show.

(Cybercrime Magazine)

26. The average time to identify and mitigate the data breach is around 287 days.

The shorter the lifecycle of the breach, the better for the company. On average, a breach that lasts under 200 days costs 30% less than the one that lasts longer. Conversely, the longer the breach, the higher the average cost. Healthcare is the most costly industry regarding data breaches ($9.23 million per incident), cost of data loss statistics indicate.


27. 93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days filed for bankruptcy one year after the incident.

Companies that suffer data center loss often close down very soon. 50% of firms without data management for 10 days file for bankruptcy immediately. 94% of companies suffering catastrophic data loss never survive — 43% don’t reopen, while 51% close in two years. 30% of companies suffering from a major fire go out of business in one year, while 70% do so within five years.



All organizations face the risk of data loss. Of course, some are more exposed than others, but all can do something using different data recovery and backup methods, as evidenced by data loss stats. In any case, there are companies on the market that could help smaller outfits with fewer resources and infrastructure handle their data, effectively preventing the loss of both data and reputation.


What are the consequences of data loss?

Data loss impacts the company in multiple ways. First, it sets back the productivity timeline and makes customers lose trust in your company. A company loses customers, particularly if the data loss is connected to a security breach. Even if the company manages to recover from this incident, it still needs a lot of time to regain trust and build customer relationships.


How often do companies lose data?

Data loss statistics indicate that companies could lose data due to many reasons. It could be because of hardware failure, cyber threats, power outages, or even natural disasters. One thing is certain, companies could be affected at any time, and any company could lose data. For instance, around 140,000 hard drives fail each week in the US alone. This number is far greater in the rest of the world. Moreover, 58% of small to medium size businesses are unprepared for any data loss.


How would you avoid data losses?

There are many ways to prevent data loss, starting with having drills for restoring info from the backup. Backing up data frequently is another prevention method, data loss statistics show. Having a generator or battery backup system, using antivirus programs, and making sure your equipment is safe from static electricity are other things you can do to minimize the risk of data loss.


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