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Understanding the Magnitude of Data Loss

When the Library of Alexandria burned in 48 BC, it changed the course of history forever. Irreplaceable knowledge of the ancient world disappeared off the face of the planet. Putting such knowledge in modern terms, it’s estimated that 571.4 gigabytes of data burned in the tragedy.

Now consider data losses that happen almost daily in the modern world. The United States accounts for 64% of all known data losses worldwide. California alone lost 5.6 billion records in 2022. The content of the data varies wildly, from financial transactions to health insurance information. The most common industries to suffer data losses are finance, healthcare, public administration, manufacturing, and transportation. All large industries that contain important, valuable data for everyday life. 

The most common way data is lost in the United States comes from human error. In a large country with so many people online, tons of data is generated every second. Understanding what’s important to keep and what can be discarded is a major task. It’s not hard to accidentally delete an important file. All it takes in some cases is one misclick. The problem is compounded by the fact that many workers who handle sensitive data are not well trained in digital best practices.

This lack of training also opens the door for the second largest cause of data loss: cyber attacks. Phishing emails are almost ubiquitous in this day and age. They may look harmless, but clicking on their links can install ransomware on a device, compromising all the information inside it. 

Between 2021 and 2022, over 5,000 businesses worldwide experienced confirmed data loss. Exfiltration of important data can compromise consumer safety. Despite the new tools present on the scene, data loss itself is a problem as old as history itself. Ensure protection with airtight solutions.

Lukas Halim

Lukas Halim is the owner / operator of infographics archive. He has a long-standing interest in data visualization, providing free Tableau training materials at LearningTableau.com and teaching two top-selling Tableau courses on Udemy.

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