Business Data Loss: A Spooky Halloween Tale

Once upon a time, there was a successful graphic designer named Carol. Everything was going well for Carol: business was booming, clients were happy, and Carol had even hired some employees.

Data Loss

“Say good-bye to your data…”

Then, one fateful night, it happened. Carol was working on her laptop, which contained all of her client information and project files, when a werewolf burst through the door of her office.

The werewolf reared up on its hind legs and, snarling, leapt into the room. It seized the laptop between its sickly yellow teeth and, with a horrifying crunch, all of Carol’s hard work was gone. GONE… FOREVER!


Once you are done having a panic attack and have resumed reading this article, you probably realize that the odds of a werewolf taking out your computer are not particularly high (or so we hope). However, the odds of you losing your data are better than you might think. Carbonite, a cloud backup provider, conducted a survey that suggested that 70% of businesses have experienced data loss.

The repercussions of losing data can vary. However, whether an entire computer’s worth of data or just a few hours of work bites the dust, businesses suffer, and bleed profits, as a consequence. Cue the creepy music.

Large Scale Data Loss

If your entire computer gets wiped out by a renegade werewolf, or by something more normal like a software virus, the cost can range easily into thousands of dollars. Permanent loss can occur due to theft, loss, or a natural disaster like a fire.

Joan Horbiak, a communications expert who experienced a system failure and lost all of her data, is a good example. She didn’t have backups, and she ended up paying $6,500 to have computer experts salvage just some of it, according to USA Today.

Horbiak was lucky to recover even some of her data. According to a study by Pepperdine University, data cannot be recovered at all 17% of the time. Usually, as long as you still have your computer, experts can get something (if not everything) back – for a price.

Small Scale Data Loss

Small scale data loss tends to occur because of human error (oops, just saved over a file!), hard drive or software issues, or viruses. Small scale data loss is tricky because even companies with backups can fall prey. For example, if you back up on a hard drive once a week, you will still be in trouble if the PowerPoint you’ve been working on for three days suddenly goes A-WOL.

In smaller scale incidents, companies without current backups will usually compensate by redoing the work, absorbing the cost as they go. The Pepperdine study found that even if you only lose six hours worth of work, it will cost your company over $200 to have the work redone.

The Price of Data Loss

Pepperdine was nice enough to calculate the expected cost of data loss. It found that each MB of data lost costs companies around $10,000.  Most data lost incidents cost businesses around $4,000, with a range of $557 for the least damaging non-permanent incidents to over $20,000 for highly damaging permanent loss incidents.

Suddenly, paying a few dollars a month for cloud backups doesn’t seem so bad. It will protect you against spending hundreds on small-scale damage control or potential tens of thousands on large scale damage control caused by the data-hungry creatures of the night. So remember to protect yourself – while you can.


Happy Halloween!


Lynn is the founder and chief editor at She is responsible for strategy and business development. Her background is in software development, marketing, and project management. She loves camping, traveling, and all things soccer related. She has been married for over 30 years to one great guy and has two adult children. Lynn is also the human companion to two cats - Jynx and Spanky. She is based in Minnesota, USA.

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