Data Loss

What Does Data Loss Mean?

Data loss is any process or event that results in data being corrupted, deleted and/or made unreadable by a user and/or software or application.

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It occurs when one or more data elements can no longer be utilized by the data owner or requesting application.

Data loss is also known as data leakage.

Techopedia Explains Data Loss

Data loss is applicable on data both at rest and when in motion (transmitted over the network). Data loss can occur for various reasons, including:

  • Data corruption
  • Data being intentionally or accidentally deleted or overwritten by a user or an attacker
  • Data stolen over the network by network penetration or any network intervention attack
  • Data storage device physically damaged or stolen
  • Virus infection deleting one or more files

Data loss is usually prevented by implementing data backup solutions and adding strong data access controls and security mechanisms on data storage assets.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.