Undetected storage media is the most identified culprit of data loss
Undetected storage media is the most identified culprit of data loss

Undetected storage media is the most identified culprit of data loss, according to Kroll Ontrack. The intelligence firm's quarterly Data Loss Index (DLI) summarised data loss causes from October through December 2016. Over 1300 results from 43 countries were received.

By far, the biggest culprit of data loss is undetected storage media (36 percent), followed by dropped devices (13 percent) and devices not powering up (10 percent).

The overall results from 2016 show a sharp growth in that  top category. Undetected media grew from 25 percent in Q1 to 27 percent in Q2 and Q3 and ended the year with 36 percent – an overall increase of more than 45 percent in 2016.

Dropped devices, however, remained consistent throughout the year. The numbers steadily declined from 10 percent in Q1 to nine percent in Q2 and eight percent in Q3, before spiking  during the last quarter up to 13 percent.

During 2016, up to 99 respondents reported data loss due to fire. Seventy-six such incidents, a majority, happened during the first six months of the year and only seven incidents took place between October and December.

Liquid damage was a common cause of data loss with more than 300 respondents having suffered as a result in 2016. Data loss caused by a virus accounted for 171 incidents.

Data loss in 2016 was also experienced due to vibrating devices (88 cases) on external hard drive disks, laptops, servers and even tape media and devices producing smoke (57 cases) on external drives, flash drives, mobile devices, laptops and servers.

“Even as computers, mobile devices and storage media technology continue to improve, nothing is 100 percent fail-safe. As we can see by these reports from real users, there are as many data loss reasons as there are devices in the market. Everybody should be aware that data loss can happen with any device, at any time. Having a data recovery plan at hand, checking media and hardware frequently and backing up data on a regular basis can minimise the unwanted effects,” said Robin England, senior research & development engineer at Kroll Ontrack.