Surviving Data Loss: When Backup Wasn’t Enough

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According to DriveSavers data recovery service, 43% of companies that lose data in a disaster never reopen, and 90% are out of business within two years. We talked with John Christopher, Senior Data Recovery Engineer at DriveSavers about why your current data backup system might not be enough, and what to do (hint: panicking is not on the list) if disaster does strike and you’re facing a hard disk or backup device failure.
With more and more businesses backing up their data, is there a decreasing need for recovering data directly from a failed or damaged hard drive?
Surprisingly, no. Most of our customers do backup their data. Many times a data loss occurs because of some random event: a laptop computer that is out in the field, a user on the network isn’t configured properly for backup, backups don’t happen often enough, or a backup device (RAID, NAS or tape system) fails to work.

What steps can businesses take to improve the durability of their hard drives?
Hard drives are precision devices with moving parts inside. It’s important that they are treated with care. That means you should never intentionally hit the computer—believe it or not, this was a commonly prescribed remedy around 1985 when drives suffered a problem known as stiction. Extreme heat and cold can affect hard drive longevity. Try to keep the temperature around 60-70 degrees in the area where the computer or storage device is located.
If someone thinks that their hard disk crashes, what should they do and not do?
If the data on the crashed computer is not backed up, no other copy exists and is absolutely critical, you should contact a professional data recovery service company like DriveSavers. Any attempts to recover the data by someone who is inexperienced will jeopardize further attempts and destroy the data. We give this stern warning because many times customers come to us as the last stop after a long line of attempts have been made using: software; computer-savvy friends or family members; local consultants; the network guy and the discount computer store.
[note: DriveSavers has a “recovery tips” page on their website with more details on what to do, including audio clips of what different bad drives sound like]
How do you typically recover data from failed or damaged drives, and what type of devices can you work with?
The data recovery process begins by evaluating the drive and identifying the nature of the problem. We treat every drive the same — we believe we have just one chance to read the drive and make an identical copy of the disk.
If the drive has media damage, mechanical failure or physical damage we take it into a special dust free environment known as a Cleanroom. Air is circulated through large filters built into the workbenches and this allows us to disassemble a drive down to the component level and rebuild it so it can function temporarily.
Once we’ve obtained a bit for bit copy of the drive – the logical data – recovery engineers begin the work of retrieving the data, repairing directory structures, virus checking and more.
We can reliably recover lost data from all encrypted hard drives, peripheral devices and software, and routinely recover databases, ERP/accounting systems, and mail servers for organizations of all sizes.
How much does it cost?
All of our pricing is based on the physical capacity of the drive, the speed our customers need the data and the operating system used. The average price is about $1500.

One thought on “Surviving Data Loss: When Backup Wasn’t Enough

  1. Annette

    For many companies, especally in the SMB space, designing and implementing a disaster recovery plan–including data backup procedures–is too much to think about. When a business’ primary focus is not on IT, it’s difficult to implement best practice procedures to secure and protect the network. With outsourced IT solutions like that offered by ITonCommand, businesses don’t have to worry about disaster recovery because it’s built into the hosted network solution. All of a business’ data and applications are securely stored on the managed service provider’s servers located in state-of-the-art data centers. With the hosted desktop solution you don’t have to worry about recovering lost data from multiple hard drivers and/or servers. Everything is stored and secured on their servers, eliminating the risk of lost data. They offer some helpful tips on disaster proofing your business at

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