Cyberattacks now number one cause of data loss

2022 marks the first year cyberattacks overtake human error as the top cause of data loss, says Databarracks research

Posted 21 July 2022 by Christine Horton

New research by Databarracks has shown that 38 percent of organisations reported cyberattack and internal breaches as a cause of data loss in 2022.

The organisations reporting cyberattacks and breaches as a cause of data loss outnumbered both human error (29 percent) and hardware failure (26 percent).

The findings come from the annual Data Health Check, a survey of 400 IT decision makers. This year’s survey focused on themes of Ransomware, Cyber, Backup, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity.

Barnaby Mote, managing director of Databarracks commented: “For many of us, these results should come as no surprise. Data loss caused by cyberattacks has been increasing year on year since we began the Data Health Check in 2008. In a relatively short space of time, we’ve watched cyberattacks go from minor threat, to where we are today as the leading cause of data loss for organisations.”

Mote continued: “The seriousness of the situation cannot be overstated. The other causes of data loss have not gone away. IT teams are still dealing with similar numbers of incidents caused by human error and hardware or software failure. The growth is in addition to these causes. It is a significant burden because recovery from cyber-related data loss is typically far more difficult and time consuming.

“Of those surveyed, over half have experienced a cyberattack. We also found, perhaps unsurprisingly, ransomware is the most common form of cyberattack this year.”

Protection against data loss

Mote provided suggestions on how organisations can protect themselves.

“There are two key areas organisations can focus on to protect themselves against cyber related data loss. Firstly, improve your defences to prevent the attack occurring and secondly, improve your ability to respond and recover if you do suffer data loss.

“Your first line of defence is your staff. It’s essential that employees are trained and practice good cyber hygiene. We found that almost a quarter of organisations have not carried out cyber security training in the last year.

“Review your Disaster Recovery plans to make sure they are up to date and equipped to deal with the task at hand. Cyber incidents are very different from traditional causes of data loss. Look specifically at the frequency of your backups and the number of versions of data you keep to minimise both downtime and data loss.

“Growth in cyber-related data loss will only continue so it is critical organisations are able to respond effectively.”