Report: Majority of data loss caused by failing HDD

Crashed hard disks are the responsible for the majority of data loss, according to a report. The report was compiled with data coming from 1,000 respondents in North America, Europe and Asia. 72% of the respondents reported they lost data due to a crashed HDD. Data loss due to a crashed SSD (15%) and loss due failure of a RAID array or a virtual storage service (13%) were a lot less common.


When respondents were asked about the cause of the most recent data loss, 66% responded it was caused by a failing HDD. In 2010 only 29% of the reported data loss was caused by failing HDDs. The percentage of data loss due to human errors was much larger in 2010, 27% back then against 14% in 2014.

Besides failing hardware and human mistakes, also software bugs are a cause of data loss, 6% is caused by failing software. Laptops and PCs are the most common systems in which data loss takes place, with hardly no difference between business and home users. Laptops and PCs of home users were in 71% of the data loss the host system for HDDs and SSDs that crashed, while they were the host systems of 72% of the business users.

SSDs were for 18% of the home users the cause of data loss, for business users they were responsible for 10% of the data loss, which might be caused by using different, more reliable NAND (MLC for home users vs. SLC for business usage). Although SSDs appear to be much safer based on these numbers, the install base of SSDs is still much smaller than HDDs.