The number one thing humans produce today is data. Data that is stored on servers, in the cloud, on home computers, it’s everywhere and it’s endless. There has been countless data stored throughout history and day after day the rate of production only increases. Large historic tragedies, things like the burning of the Library of Alexandria, this is the destruction of historical data. Data loss today though, that takes on a much different form.
Today the number one cause of data loss is human error. This has been and likely will be the biggest cause of loss for a long time. As long as humans are involved, misclicks, accidental deletions, errors, these are all inevitable. This alongside one of the other biggest causes of data loss, unexpected events, are relatively similar. They’re unavoidable in their current forms. In terms of unexpected events, things like spontaneous failures, glitches, and natural disasters, there’s not much one can do.
These two run in direct contrast to malware, the second biggest cause of data loss. Malware is the more typical phishing, spoofing, or ransomware attack. This is the most malicious and the most actively defended against category. Malware and targeted attacks also make up some of the larger data breaches in recent history.
Ukraine, for example, had a loan service company attacked with over 100 GB of data stolen. Finance in general is the industry that sees the most data loss, followed by healthcare and public administration. Finance has the most money to be made, and healthcare and public administration have a lot of sensitive information. Although even smaller industries like transportation can see massive attacks. Toyota for example saw 300,000 customers’ information lost to hackers.
Unsurprisingly, a majority of these attacks occur in the United States. The nation has some of the most prominent tech businesses and startups in the world. Yet it experiences 64% of all data losses globally. To draw a comparison, China, from 2013 to 2020, saw 350 million data records lost. In the same timespan, the U.S saw over 6.2 billion.
Admittedly, this is due in very large part to California. The state alone accounts for 5.6 billion lost data records. Yet even the state with the fourth most records lost, Georgia, has 355 million lost records. In terms of data loss there is simply no country that amounts to the U.S. These numbers, while staggering, aren’t as scary as they may seem.
Most data breaches, as was mentioned, are due to human error. These typically amount to small losses while are relatively unimportant. The majority of data loss won’t go on to affect anyone significantly, yet a lot of it will. This is why having knowledge of the issue can be so important. There’s a world of data that has been lost and continues to disappear. And while it may be impossible to avoid some things like natural disasters. There are real steps nations and industries alike can take to avoid unnecessary loss. Keeping data secure, employees smart, and storage safe is more important now than ever.