A Scenario of What Could Happen
Just imagine this scenario. You own a highly profitable specialty retail store that stock thousands of parts. These parts are procured from the best sources that you have identified over many years, based on product quality, timely deliveries, reasonable prices and customer support. You have also fixed the re-order levels based on years of experience. These re-order levels are the basis for automatically triggering replenishment requests when the stock of a part reaches danger levels.
All the data, parts specifications, selling prices, supplier details, inventory accounts, re-order levels, consumption statistics, negotiated prices and other such critical information are stored in your computer system at the back office. You do back up these data onto magnetic tapes. However you have never checked the reliability of these backup tapes.
One day, during a severe thunderstorm, your computer disks become unreadable. And you find that the backup tapes have become unreliable with the restored data being no better than useless garbage.
Now imagine the disastrous impact such data loss could have on your business operations and profitability. You might be able to reconstruct the part specifications and selling prices from paper records. However, re-identifying the preferred suppliers, the replenishment stock levels and negotiated prices for each of the thousands of parts might prove a highly disruptive exercise, if at all possible. The result would be a serious loss of control over your business operations and profitability.
Now suppose that you had called an expert data recovery specialist immediately upon the occurrence of the data loss. It is quite likely that the specialist would be able to make a complete recovery of the data.
To make such recovery possible, you should not even try to recover the data using the backup tapes that had never been checked for their reliability. If you do that, the data in the computer might become completely unrecoverable.
How Do Data Get Lost?
Data loss could occur owing to:
- Physical damage to the storage device as when the hard disk head crashes or other mechanical failure happens
- Logical damage to the file system causing incomplete writing and consequent inability of the operating system to display results correctly
- Human error or action that results in deleting the data on the storage device
- Virus attacks
- No or poor backup policies or their improper implementation of the policies
- Natural disasters like fires and floods
How Can You Prevent Data Loss?
There are certain steps that you can take to prevent or at least minimize data loss:
- Implement a systematic backup procedure so that the data can be recovered if it is lost. Backup policies and implementation is a complex topic and it is best you get professional assistance for formulating policies and implementing them in your particular situation
- Audit your data back up practices and periodically check the reliability of the backups
- Train your computer personnel in certain important operational matters. For example, if unusual sounds are heard from the drives, it is best to shut down the computer; don’t get liquids and stuff get into the computer; unplug power chords if smoke is seen coming out of the computer; and so on.
- Install Anti Virus and Security software to prevent virus attacks.
- Consider online back up services offered by third parties, which could help you even in cases of data loss owing to natural disasters.
In Case of Data Loss, Call in Experts!
Experienced experts would know what to look for, how to proceed and the most suitable alternatives for each situation. Your best bet is to entrust data recovery to such a specialist rather than try a Do It Yourself recovery attempt.
You would be able to appreciate advise against DIY better if you are aware of certain facts:
- Data storage devices pack more and more data in less and less space. Even minute specks of dust could affect the integrity of the data.
- Opening the sealed drives could cause just that – allowing plenty of dust to damage the drive image, and make reliable recovery of the data impossible. Data recovery specialists work in highly controlled “Clean Rooms” to prevent this.
- Data recovery specialists use such methods as replacing the PCB of the drive with a matching healthy one and/or replacing read/write assembly parts with matching ones. Not only do these require highly specialized expertise but also facilities for working at high precision levels. End users of computers are not likely to have these.
By: Andy Wong
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