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Disaster Recovery: Top 4 Causes for Data Disasters

disaster recovery cloud

“I sure hope Auntie Em has a cloud-based disaster recovery plan in place.”

When you hear the word “disaster,” what leaps to mind are images of devastating tornadoes or earthquakes. Or maybe zombies shambling across a bleak landscape of social ruin.

But when it comes to business data, the word “disaster” actually carries a different distinction. Why? Because the world doesn’t have to come to an end to bring about a data disaster. So, while disaster recovery in the zombie apocalypse might mean foraging for food and making sure you have plenty of ammo, disaster recovery in the business world means having your critical data properly backed up in the event the worst happens.

And with that, I’m here to share with you, via, the Quorum Disaster Recovery Report detailing the top 4 causes for data disasters — and the results may surprise you if you’re a zombie apocalypse “prepper.”

1. Hardware Failure – Yeah, not very exciting, is it? You’d go see a movie called “Earthquake,” but if someone released a movie called “Hardware Failure,” well, the box office gross wouldn’t exactly challenge “Titanic,” would it? (Would the title “Disaster Recovery” bring people to the theater?) But the study shows that 55 percent of downtime/lost data disasters are due to simple hardware failure. The problem is that even if you think you’ve got your storage area network in order, you can’t predict other failures, such as air conditioning failure on a hot summer day or a rodent chewing through a wire.

2. Human Error – Another yawner. But the fact is that, according to Quorum, 22 percent of data disasters are due to human error, such as an employee accidentally deleting their entire mailbox or an IT specialist mistakenly wiping a server. Hey, it happens — you just have to make sure you’re prepared for it. It’s called “disaster recovery” for a reason.

3. Software Failure – When they designed the operating systems you use every day, they totally meant for them to work all the time. But 18 percent of data disasters come down to software failure. According to, “The issue lies in the lack of attention to testing patches before they are sent out, resulting in corruption of applications that can bring down entire systems or make them otherwise unavailable.” Eek. Again, it’s not something that will make the 6 o’clock news or make for a good movie thriller, but it’s a reality that must be dealt with.

4. Natural Disasters – And there it is! Believe it or not, natural disasters like tornadoes and earthquakes make up only 5 percent of data disasters according to Quorum’s report. Yes, they are sexy and dramatic, but they are also rare, especially in the world of data. Nevertheless, they can be devastating. According to a report from HP and SCORE, 70 percent of small businesses that experience a major data loss go out of business within a year. Once again, it’s called “disaster recovery” for a reason.

What’s the solution? Well, you can’t stop the inevitable, but a good backup and data recovery plan is the answer. While data tape and disk have long been the preferred methods, it’s obvious from Quorum’s report that they aren’t the final answer. More and more, companies are moving toward cloud backup and recovery. Because it isn’t always a tornado or a zombie apocalypse that brings the greatest threat to your critical data.

For more information on cloud-based disaster recovery, check out our free white paper here.


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