As I was working on some new marketing materials this week, I came across some interesting information on the cost to re-create data that had been lost due to either a data backup failure or the absence of a sufficient data backup solution. Data is the lifeblood of modern business, and the rate at which that data continues to grow year-over-year is exponential.
Data Loss Insights
Keep in mind that a data loss event doesn’t have to mean that a complete loss of information occurs. It can also occur within a single IT function. If email data is lost, you don’t have access to your records of communication with clients and employees, potentially lose submitted orders, or subject the company to legal dangers associated with the retention of email messages. If your customer data, operational files, and payroll data are only stored on your internal server without a current backup copy, then you potentially lose the information you need to contact those customers, conduct normal business operations and pay your employees. The causes of these data outages and backup failures can vary as well. The three most common causes are power failure, IT hardware failure, and network connectivity failure.
In 2002, data recovery company Ontrack published a study that included information from the National Computer Security Association regarding the cost and length of time required to re-create 20MB of data. The chart to the right shows updated dollar figures as of 2011.
Given the differences in the type and complexity of data amongst businesses, it can be difficult to precisely estimate both the value and re-creation cost. For example, consider the differences between an engineering department and a sales department within the same company. Typically, an engineering department would mostly generate drawings, plans or other graphically complex files. The employees who create these files are usually highly skilled and highly paid. Such files and data are very detailed, and take a significant amount of time to create. Also, the typical file size for an engineering drawing or plan may be well in excess of 20MB, thus easily costing more than $120,000 to re-create. On the other hand, much of the sales department’s data is in the form of customer data, usually stored in some type of CRM application. While this data is very valuable as well, it could potentially be re-created from paper documents by lower-paid data entry personnel.
There are many variables that determine how much it costs to replace lost or unrecoverable data. However, the chart above underscores the importance of maintaining a robust backup solution that makes complete, consistent copies of your critical business data. Multiple solutions for data backup and data recovery exist, including both physical and online backup solutions.
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About the Author – Matt Hyatt is the Founder and CEO of Rocket IT, the IT department for all kinds of organizations around Gwinnett. His award-winning firm provides both the strategy and support needed to help businesses thrive.
Matt currently serves on the Executive Board of the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce as the Vice-Chair of Entrepreneurship & Small Business is an active supporter of Gwinnett County Public Schools, and is a member of several peer groups (like Entrepreneurs’ Organization) in addition to co-founding two of his own. In 2014, Matt was awarded the Pinnacle Small Business Person of the Year.
Outside of work, Matt enjoys spending time with his wife, Maureen, and their two teenage children pursuing their shared passions for photography, travel, and food. He also regularly runs with a team in ultra-long distance relay races.