Kroll Ontrack has recovered more than 103 petabytes of data over the past 25 years.
Kroll Ontrack has released new statistics regarding how the creation of storage technologies and digital information has impacted data loss and data recovery technology since the advent of the personal computer in the 1980’s.
Since the first Kroll Ontrack data recovery lab opened in 1987, more than 103 petabytes (PB) of data has been recovered.
How much is 103 PB of data? That’s equivalent to 25 million USB flash drives, each with 4 GB capacity.
Only 1.2 GB of data was recovered in 1987, whereas the amount of data recovered by Kroll Ontrack in 2011 has skyrocketed to nearly 35 million GB (35 PB).
The number of computers impacted by data loss was estimated to have reached nearly 1.4 million – compared to only 33,000 in 1987.
According to an analysis by Kroll Ontrack, the number of data loss cases over the past 25 years grew in parallel with the total number of personal computers in the world.
The analysis also revealed that on average, one in one thousand computers lost data stored on it.
In the 1980’s, at the onset of the so-called PC era, the estimated number of personal computers in use was nearly 7,000 devices per one million people and approximately 33,000 of them suffered data loss.
By the mid 1990’s, the number of computers in use was nearly 40,000 per one million people and data was lost from approximately 225,000 computers.
In 2011, these figures reached more than 200,000 computers and 1.4 million cases of data loss, respectively.
According to the latest IDC Digital Universe study, the amount of data more than doubles each year, and in 2012, it will exceed 1.8 zettabytes.
This is the equivalent of 200 billion two-hour long HD movies that one person would have to watch continuously for 47 million years.
As data creation increases, so does data loss.
According to a report by market research firm Gartner, every year at least 25 percent of computer users worldwide experience data loss.
Kroll Ontrack statistics indicate that 29 percent of data is lost as a result of hardware failure and 27 percent is due to human error.
Other causes include software errors (7 percent), computer viruses (7 percent) and natural disasters such as floods or fires (3 percent).
Below is a timeline infographic by Kroll Ontrack charting a brief history of the digital era.