Go Green with Document Management

Disaster Recovery: The Cost of Lost Data

Posted by Mike Paperalt on Dec 6, 2018 12:12:50 PM

Disaster Recovery: The Cost of Lost Data


Changing weather patterns  have increased the likelihood of major weather events, including hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, and fires.  With record rain fall in many locations, even areas that seldom, if ever flood, are on the lookout for possible flooding during major rain events.  According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, (NOAA) 2017 was a record year for floods, and 2018 is shaping up to be another record year. 

Wildfires have erupted and spread across  across California, Colorado, New Mexico and other Western states, helped by high winds and long-lasting droughts.  After a record-breaking 2017 fire season, 2018 has proven to be devastating as well. 

These weather events are tragic for all who are touched by them. 

flooded files (2)


This article focuses on the losses and disruptions that tragedies such as these can bring to  businesses, governments, archives, libraries and other organizations and institutions that retain and rely on paper documents, microfilm and books. 

While many organizations are making an effort to convert paper files and processes to digital and the electronic document management technology is expected to have an annual growth rate of 12.78% over the next five year, many businesses still rely on paper.  For instance, 73% of owners and decision makers at smaller companies say they print documents daily.  Some companies spend as much as $26,000 per year to manage and support an average of 60,000 printed pages. 

Small businesses can be particularly hard-hit when their paper files are damaged or destroyed or lost.

Cost of Document Recovery

Document restoration and data recovery can be costly. While flood-damaged documents may be able to be salvaged, loss to fire, theft or vandalism may result in data that's gone forever.  Even if your business has off-site storage or duplicate back-ups, a wide-reaching weather event could result in loss of both originals and back-ups. 

Depending on the work needed to restore your documents, our sources tell us that the cost could be between $50-$150 per cubic foot of paper, plus shipping and storage.  Most business will tell you that while the cost of document recovery is high, the cost associated with lost documents, can be significantly higher.

Preventing Document Loss

Businesses and organizations that have been flooded or had documents stolen have a chance of document recovery, while businesses that have been devastated by fire, or vandalism have little to no chance of document recovery.  That’s why having a disaster recovery plan in place before disaster strikes is absolutely necessary.    

  • 40% of businesses do not reopen after a disaster
  • another 25% fail within one year according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
  • over 90% of businesses fail within two years after being struck by a disaster according to the Small Business Administration

Even non-catastrophic occurrences can result in immense losses of time and money.

For instance, in one example a concrete company estimated that the loss of two days of data could easily total over $100,000.  This cost is based upon Gartner Group data estimating that the cost to recreate a single document is approximately $200.

How much would data loss cost your organization?    

Get Started with a Disaster Recovery Solution


Topics: Disaster Recovery - Business Continuity

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