11 Data Loss Statistics All Businesses Should Know
As technology has evolved tremendously over the past 20 years, so has the role of data backup within business continuity and disaster recovery. Today, it’s easier than ever for small to mid-sized businesses to get the enterprise-level data protection that previously only large organizations had access to. But despite these advancements, today’s business continuity and data loss statistics should still be a red flag for organizations in every industry.
Throughout the last decade, many organizations have invested in enterprise-grade protection, but there are plenty of holdout companies that do not make the investment (or consider the consequences of data loss at all). As a result, they still suffer significant losses of data that put their operations at risk. If you’re a business owner or manager and don’t have any continuity systems in place to prevent lost data, here are some data loss statistics that might make you think twice.
Alarming data loss statistics
1. 30% of businesses lose data due to a server outage
A report by a leading BC/DR provider conducted annually over the last five years has consistently found that 30% of businesses (all sizes) lose data due to an outage. In 2016, it was slightly higher at 31%, but still in the same ballpark range. This is despite the fact that many affordable options for backup are available these days, including cloud storage and disaster-recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS).
Data is the lifeblood for pretty much all businesses nowadays, and organizations invest heavily in solutions that not only protect that data but also interpret it. According to Forbes (via a Deloitte survey), 49% of businesses feel data analytics help them make better decisions. Aside from aiding decision-making processes, data serves as the critical resource for internal systems, applications, customer information, email and more. Without it, most businesses today are dead in the water.
2. 93% of small businesses embrace cloud storage
In 2019, 84% of all businesses were storing data or backups in the cloud and an additional 8% planned to do so within the next year. Small businesses have the highest adoption rate for using the cloud at 93%.
Of course, “cloud storage” can mean several different things to different businesses. There are cloud-based productivity platforms, like Microsoft 365 for Business, cloud file-sharing apps like OneDrive and cloud-based infrastructure with off-site backup.
Keeping data in the cloud is typically a smart option to prevent disruptions from on-site disasters and enable anywhere-access – as long as that cloud data is adequately backed up.
3. Roughly 1 out of 100 hard drives failed last year
All hard drives reach end-of-life eventually. That includes the drives in your servers, which cause the outages we mentioned above. Last year an average of 0.93% of hard drives failed according to data loss statistics from a cloud storage provider. That may not seem like a large percentage, but for businesses that rely on data they store locally and don’t perform separate backups, a crash can equate to a catastrophic failure.
Hard drives—particularly spinning disk drives—are among the most fallible components in your infrastructure. They should be routinely replaced on a schedule, as part of your business continuity plan. Even then, the data on those drives needs to be backed up.
4. Ransomware is responsible for 27% of malware incidents
Data losses happen for a variety of reasons, including drive failure, physical theft and human error, but malware is still a leading cause. More specifically, ransomware: According to Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report, 27% of malware incidents involve ransomware, which is designed to lock your data with unbreakable encryption, effectively making it useless.
5. 28% of ransomware attacks resulted in data loss
This number is not as bad as we expected – but it should still be eye-opening for businesses. According to findings by Datto, 28% of ransomware attacks resulted in lost data and/or a device. 13% also resulted in stolen data.
Ransomware is one of the gravest threats to business data today. Paying cybercriminals should be a very last resort, and the FBI urges companies not to pay it. The best way to resolve a ransomware attack is to restore the data from backup by rolling back to a recovery point from before the infection occurred.
6. Roughly 30% of companies still resist recovery testing
Another leading data-backup provider found that businesses continue to underestimate the importance of recovery testing. In their survey, they found 36% of businesses that (luckily) did not experience downtime in 2019 hadn’t tested their ability to recover at all. Additionally, roughly 22% of the companies that did experience downtime (42%) also didn’t perform recovery testing. Overall, findings show these statistics are improving and many companies currently do perform at least some level of testing. According to the report, 12% “more organizations at least test annually vs. 4 years ago.”
Testing is an important component of data backup and business continuity. Companies that don’t test their data recovery processes are more vulnerable to data loss. The bottom line is that a plan is only good if it actually works. As technology is swapped out, personnel change or other adjustments are made, these changes can adversely impact any good recovery plan. Testing ensures the right updates are made so even the most carefully crafted plans remain consistently valid.
7. 37% of SMBs have lost data in the cloud
Earlier in this post, we noted the large majority of small businesses are using cloud storage and, for the most part, this is a good strategy. However, it isn’t infallible and organizations can still suffer data losses, as statistics exemplify. According to Backupify, 37% of surveyed small to mid-sized business have lost data in the cloud.
Leveraging the cloud is a great continuity strategy; however, it should not be the only solution used. To ensure no data loss occurs, a combination of strategies should be used, including SaaS data backup for cloud productivity apps like M365.
8. 33% of folders aren’t protected
A recent survey found that around 33% of folders used by a company aren’t secured and are left open for everyone to access. What this boils down to is roughly one-third of organizations don’t take the time to configure their systems to be accessed on a “need to know” basis. (Source: Varonis via Comparitech)
It’s rare for any employee to need full access and permissions to all company folders. Setting permissions, along with two-factor authentication, are helpful safeguards to prevent data loss from occurring. By only allowing specific individuals who actually need access, this lowers the probability of data being accidentally edited, modified or deleted.
9. 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses
Cybercriminals are putting a significant effort into targeting small businesses, as evidenced by a steady uptick in incidents. A few years ago, just 18% of cyberattacks were aimed at small businesses. Today it’s 43%, so clearly this figure is ballooning. Another problem is the fact that 54% of small businesses feel they’re “too small” for a cyberattack and this makes them ripe for exploitation by threat actors. (Source: Small Business Trends)
Small businesses are often viewed as easy targets because they don’t have the resources or personnel to effectively mitigate threats and keep technology up to date. In this respect, cybercriminals aren’t wrong. According to a 2019 report, three out of four small businesses said they do not have the personnel to “address IT security.”
10. 60% of small businesses suffering major cyberattacks go out of business within six months
Cybercrime costs SMBs a substantial amount of money. When a business suffers a massive data breach, statistics suggest it’ll be out of business within six months. This is largely due to the fact cybercrime costs SMBs over $2.2 million per year. (Source: Small Business Trends)
A comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery plan, with robust data backup, can go a long way to preventing costly outages from such attacks. Aside from the price tag attached to the loss of data, there are regulatory and industry fines to consider, along with damage to a brand reputation and a loss of customer trust.
11. 94% of small businesses receive malware via email
Data loss often begins with a bad email. Small businesses are regularly targeted by cybercriminals via email, which includes links and attachments to malware. According to Small Business Trends, “almost all of the detected malware that small businesses receive are through email.” At 94%, this is a data loss statistic that really can’t be ignored. (Source: Verizon via Small Business Trends)
All organizations should educate and train their employees to recognize potential malware and other red flags in email.
Data Loss Statistics are Scary. Get the protection your business needs
Businesses of all sizes are at risk for data loss, but SMBs are particularly vulnerable, because they typically don’t have the robust IT departments to manage technology safeguards and ensure strong business continuity strategies are in place. This is a primary reason why a growing number of SMBs turn to expert partners to manage these important business processes. Businesses today rely too heavily on data to lose it. For many, a data loss incident might mean a business cannot bear the brunt and ends up shuttering its doors. Partnering with the experts will help you to invest in a comprehensive strategy to develop a solid business continuity plan, so that no valuable data is lost.