Computer data may be one of your company’s most vulnerable assets. According to  ONTRACK Data Recovery professional labs, the primary Risks threats to your data integrity are as follows:

Hardware or system malfunction: 44%
Human error: 32%
Software program malfunction: 4%
Viruses: 7%
Natural disaster: 3%
This data is based on the actual data recoveries performed by ONTRACK.

These five major threats to your computer data share two things in common: they are unpredictable and, in many cases, uncontrollable. Therefore, the precautions taken by IS executives to safeguard company data cannot always prevent a data loss disaster.

In addition to being a vulnerable asset, computer data is also a valuable asset. According to a Gallup Poll, most businesses value 100 megabytes of data at $1 million. Using this figure as a starting point, it is easy to see how significant the costs of lost or inaccessible data can be. The following is a summary of the average hourly impact of lost or inaccessible data on a selection of different businesses.

TYPE OF BUSINESS            AVERAGE HOURLY IMPACT
Retail brokerage: $6.45 million
Credit card sales authorization: $2.60 million
Home shopping channels: $113,750
Catalog sales centers: $90,000
Airline reservation centers: $89,500
Cellular service activation: $41,000
Package shipping service: $28,250
Online network connection fees: $25,250
ATM service fees: $14,500
Source: Contingency Planning Research

While the financial importance of data integrity is clear to most business executives, less obvious is the legal importance of data integrity. According to “The Legal Issues of Disaster Recovery Planning” by Tari Schreider, there exist a collection of legal precedents that can be used to hold a company accountable to those people affected by that company’s inability to cope with, or recover from, a disaster. In other words, a temporary or permanent data loss could unnecessarily expose your company to customer lawsuits and other related legal actions. Coupled with its financial costs, the legal costs of a data loss could put your company’s future at severe risk.
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