The Village of Markham’s founding fathers and mothers kept records of their agricultural, industrial and mercantile ventures using pencil and paper. While fire was probably the biggest cause of loss of business records, data, which fuels Markham’s businesses today, faces a myriad of threats which can result in its loss.
Business owners and leaders - like the pioneers before them – depend on their records. Business continuity is driven by data. Data, as we know it today, are electronic files on laptops, personal computers or servers – customer records, spreadsheets, invoices, presentations, databases, photographs, emails, and more – but to a data recovery expert they are simply “zeroes” and “ones” organized on a computer’s hard disk drive.
Hard drives do malfunction and do fail. These fragile mechanical devices’ read/write heads sometimes are not capable of accessing the data if the system is mishandled and damaged. Computers become contaminated with viruses or bugs or when software no longer works as it should. Power interruptions, power surges or blackouts, like the infamous August 14, 2003 blackout, cause computers to shut down unexpectedly.
There always remains a threat that hard drives could be exposed to fire, extreme temperatures, smoke and water that can damage the drive and impair its ability to access the data. And then, there is human error. The unthinkable can happen and data can be accidentally deleted by users.
The implications of data loss to a business can have both legal and financial ramifications. Lost data can cripple an organization and in some cases drive it out of business, especially a smaller company. In fact, according to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), digital data is growing in sheer volume, even for small businesses, which are less able to manage it due to lack of IT skills. The report, “The Expanding Digital Universe”, also predicts that in 2007 the volume of information created and replicated will surpass the storage capacity available to store it.
There are several “best practices” that businesses can follow to reduce the probability of losing data:
1. Schedule and conduct regular backups of data and check to make sure the backup information can be retrieved.
2. If possible, store backups offsite.
3. Use anti-virus software and update it frequently to scan and screen all incoming e-mails especially those with attachments.
4. Use power surge protectors since a power fluctuation can disrupt software, erase valuable data and damage the hard drive.
5. Maintain computers in a dry, controlled environment free from dust and smoke.
6. Buy USB or external hard drives and save data to these removable devices and perhaps provide one to each employee.
7. Turn off computers immediately if they make unusual noises.
If business owners are not staffed with IT personnel and prefer not to attempt recovery of their irreplaceable digital data with a Do-It-Yourself solution, they would be well advised to seek the assistance of a reputable and experienced data recovery specialist.
Losing data isn’t something businesses openly like to talk about. It’s not a matter of if data loss disaster will strike, but when. Lost data can result in lost revenue, so don’t let your data get caught between a rock and a hard drive.
Bill Margeson is President and CEO of CBL Data Recovery Technologies Inc. From CBL’s corporate headquarters in Markham, Margeson oversees the leading independent data recovery service provider’s expanding global operations. CBL Data Recovery Technologies - USA