Data Loss and Disaster Recovery

Nicole P. data protection, disasters

Data Loss threats and Disaster Recovery

Organizations across the globe are experiencing data loss at alarmingly high rates. Occasionally, data loss occurs due to factors that cannot be controlled like floods, fires and other natural disasters. Other times, the loss is due to hacking, malware and system failures. Regardless of how it happens, corporations are attempting to halt the leakage of data and are being met with different levels of success. Since it is now fairly standard that organizations are operating around-the-clock, disaster recovery and data backup procedures are increasing in significance because of the upsurges in data loss threats [4].

What is Data Loss?

On a typical day, an organization deals with an average of 17 data loss occurrences [1]. The importance of backup and disaster recovery is growing because new risks and established methods are not as effective as they once were [4].

Dangers such as ransomware and cyberattacks are continuous and major issues that organizations’ IT department, particularly recovery and backup managers, must focus on. For example, ransomware attacks continue to rise, doubling each year by 2019. In fact, attacks increased from 2 to 3 million between 2015 and 2016 [4].

Although ransomware is a major risk factor of data loss causes, another threat is that a significant amount of companies are not properly monitoring data movement. Nearly 40% of data lost episodes occur with physical media devices yet only 37% of organizations are actively observing the endpoint movement of company data [1].

What is Causing Data Loss?

Data loss happens for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it happens because of internal factors such as human error or a disgruntled employee but, more often than not, data loss occurs due to outside factors like hackers with espionage or financial incentives. In fact, external factors are accountable for between 60% to 80% of data loss whereas internal factors only make up 20% to 40% of lost data. Though the number of internal factors in relation to data loss are much lower than those of external actors, businesses must be aware of all parties dealing with and possibly benefiting from the theft of company data [1].

A more alarming trend regarding data breaches and loss is that, oftentimes, it is being uncovered by outsiders rather than internal actors. In 2016, for example, law enforcement, “white hat” hackers and partner companies were responsible for the revelation of 53% of data breaches and only 10% of information theft was discovered internally by company security officials the year before [1].

What are the REAL Costs of Data Loss?

The financial implications of data losses are huge and no industry is immune. Breaches within the healthcare industry are the costliest, averaging between $80 and $350 per patient record but the financial and retail industries are the ones who are targeted the most frequently mainly due to their vast amounts of valuable information [1] [2].

In 2016, it is estimated that hackers used ransomware to make approximately $1 billion USD while costing businesses an average of $4 million per business per incident [3] [5]. The following are some examples of just how costly data loss can be to organizations:

  • In February 2016, a hospital in California was targeted by hackers who used ransomware to demand 9,000 Bitcoins=$5.77 million USD. The hospital was down for five days and eventually paid $17,000 to recover their files [1]
  • In November 2016, the Madison County Office paid ransom of $28,000 to get the key for encrypted files [3].

Data loss does not just cause monetary damages, it also generates lost time for companies when their systems are infiltrated and data is inaccessible. Here are some examples of organizations who suffered downtime and lost data [4]:

  • In September 2016, Springfield City Hall was the victim of a ransomware attack which left their files unattainable for 10 days [3]
  • In July 2016, there was a four-hour outage at the National Weather Service communications system that forced offices to rely on social media to communicate information about impending storms [4].

Why is Disaster Recovery So Important?

Due to the fact that ransom-ware, malware and hackers are becoming increasingly smarter and more advanced, it is essential that organizations practice Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and have a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) in place [1]. When one department or service of a business is compromised from either natural or man made forces, it has a rippling effect and creates problems and performance issues throughout the rest of the systems. Because of the increasing amount of risks and the need for continuous data access, it is imperative that organizations create strategies accordingly and have a recovery plan set up [4].

Unfortunately, the truth is that traditional data backup is no longer as sufficient as it once was. The following are reasons why backup alone is no longer one of the best ways to prevent data loss [4]:

  • There are increased windows of vulnerabilities because of the time lapses between backups
  • It takes longer to restore data because breaches are taking longer to be noticed
  • Data backup costs are sometimes high
  • Backup data cannot be used for multiple purposes.

Since the ability to maintain operations during a disaster or data loss event is essential to the overall success of an organization, IT must look for innovative or additional recovery resolutions that allow them to utilize data for additional business uses and not just data availability [4]. By employing a multi-prong approach such as utilizing multiple operating systems, cloud-storage and remote sites, organizations give themselves the ability to use and access data in a quicker, more efficient and usable way.

Take Steps for Disaster tolerance

Call EnduraData at 952-746-4160 or use the contact form and we will help you with your disaster tolerance and disaster avoidance plan.


  1. Beek, C., Fiorella J., Fralick C., Frosst D., Greve P., Marwan, A., … Sun, B. (2016). “McAfee Labs Threats Report”. Intel Security. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  2. “2016 Data Protection Benchmark Study: Visibility and Maturity of a Data Loss Prevention Program”. Ponemon Institute. September 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  3. “TrendLabs 2016 Security Roundup: A Record Year for Enterprise Threats”. TrendLabs. 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  4. Russell, D., Rhame, R., Jaggers, M.T., & Witty, R.J. (15 November 2016). “Predicts 2017: Business Continuity Management and IT Service Continuity Management”. Gartner. 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  5. “IBM & Ponemon Institute Study: Data Breach Costs Rising, Now $4 million per Incident”. PR Newswire. 15 June 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2017.


Read our story about other costs of data loss.


Data Loss and Disaster Recovery was last modified: May 21st, 2018 by Nicole P.

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