Three in four (800,000) workers who didn't or couldn't recover data from a PC, laptop, removable drive or mobile failed to do so as they did not ensure the information on the device was erased properly, according to a new research by Kroll Ontrack.
According to the research, three in five (62%) workers who lost data in 2011 were able to recover it.
A third (34% or 1.1 million) of the total 3.1 million workers who lost data from a device couldn't recover the information, but only a quarter (26%) of these employees said they ensured the information on the 'broken' device was erased professionally.
The proportion of employees that successfully recovered the data from laptop or tablet was 1.2 million (65%), from desktop computer it was 1.1 million (67%), from a removable media device and mobile it was 750,000 (49%) and mobile 300,000 (52%) respectively.
Kroll Ontrack chief engineer Robert Winter said that if it is believed that a device is broken, some employees are prone think the data held is not accessible, and thereby are likely to be not so concerned about its safe erasure and disposal.
"They may give it away, sell it or even throw it away, increasing the chances it will fall into the wrong hands," Winter said.
"Even data that's been deleted is often simple for experts to restore, so employees and businesses should also consider end of life solutions for equipment that is working but no longer required, even if it's thought to have been wiped," added Winter.
About 15% (500,000) of those workers who lost information in 2011 didn't even bother to attempt to get it recovered professionally, implying they could yet recover information from a damaged or corrupted device if they were to enlist the services of a data recovery expert.
The research also revealed that more employees recovered data from desktop computer drives than any other device, as 67% attempted to recover data and were successful.
According to the research, 49% successfully recovered data from a removable media device, owing to the relatively lower cost of the device and the type of the data held on it.