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Human error and Data Loss

Kroll Ontrack announced too recently that human error is responsible for an increasing number of incoming enterprise data recovery requests. “While advanced storage options such as virtualization and cloud computing offer corporations storage optimization, human processes are still at the root of these solutions, instructing the technology as to how to perform,” said Jeff Pederson, manager of Ontrack Data Recovery operations, Kroll Ontrack. “The complexity of these systems often require a steep learning curve, and with reported IT spending at a low (down 6.9 percent in 2009 according to Gartner, Inc.), human error is increasingly common.”

Besides, a recent study quantified how disasters are not the leading cause of data loss: human error is.

The most common human error cases indentified include: putting the wrong drive in, reformatting a disk incorrectly, restoring corrupt/old backup data, rebuilding a bad array and deleting data.

“Human error is three times more potent a data destroyer than all viruses, floods, lightning bolts, earthquakes and hurricanes combined,” contends Phil Proffitt, director of research at Broadcasters Network International (BNI), a market research firm. “One accidental deletion, for instance, can be as devastating as a natural disaster.”

BNI conducted a study that found as much as 66 percent of data loss is caused by human error. Hardware failure, at 26 percent, was a distant second.

Of the mistakes humans make, BNI’s study found accidental deletions to be the most prevalent. When asked how often data loss due to deleted files came up as a problem, more than half of the system administrators surveyed responded that they encountered accidental deletions daily to once a month.

According to BNI’s study, accidental deletions are more common in Windows NT environments than on other operating systems. One reason for this peculiarity, Proffitt says, is that Windows NT end users are not as aware of the operating system’s capabilities as they should be.

CA estimated the cost of virus attacks to corporations at about half a billion U.S. dollars annually, which means accidental deletions are responsible for US$15 billion each year. Also from the CA study, 81 per cent of system managers said protecting company data is one of the most important aspects of their job. Despite regular backup initiatives, the poll showed backups to be perceived as an unreliable solution. Moreover, almost 50 per cent of the respondents lack confidence to backup data since they don’t believe in the efficacy of backups, which in turn revealed nearly all of the polled system managers had the unfortunate experience of backup failure. Contributing factors such as critical data loss between backups (54 per cent), media failure or human error leading to backup unreliability (26 per cent), and individual workstations often being omitted from the backup schedule (14 per cent) were all cited.

“More and more people are learning to use computers and playing with their computers, but most of them fail to protect their computers. Data loss caused by acidental deletion, illegal operation on the computers, blind to dangerous sites, etc makes the users lose big dollars finally.” Said Mr. Edison Hsiun, the marketing manager of the European and African Dept. of  SalvationDATA.

From all information above, I think we should reconsider the data loss and it is necessary for all ourselves to be trained with a higher level of protecting your computer and protecting your data.

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