How to recover lost business data

Data recovery
A fire or other natural disaster could cause data loss

Everyone has done it – accidentally deleted a file that turns out to be vital. And of course we are all guilty of not properly backing up our data. Precious images and video can easily be deleted, but the good news is that you can recover these files in most cases.

For businesses the data they collect, store and manipulate can be their most precious commodity. Deleting this information by accident, or thanks to a hard drive failure can be a disaster, but one that can be mitigated.

Your business should of course have a robust data backup system in place. However, according to research by Safeware nearly a third of all data loss occurs because of human error. And with most small businesses not having any dedicated IT staff, a data loss can be a major issue.

When it comes to protecting your business data, set up and forget – which is how most small businesses approach their data backup – isn't comprehensive enough to protect against lost data and to deliver the ability to recover deleted files.

The spectre of drive failure

Data can also be lost through hard drive failures. The hard drives available today are reliable but they do have a finite lifespan. How long that lifespan might be is highly subjective depending on the use of the drive. The online backup service Backblaze recently performed a test where consumer grade hard drives were run constantly until they failed.


The ongoing research into hard drive failure rates from Backblaze should ensure your business pays close attention to its data backup routines

The conclusion was that 5% of hard drives fail within their first 18 months. Over three years 1.4% fail, but after three years nearly 12% failed. So you can expect, on average, your business' hard drives to last around four years before they fail.

Says Sean Mallon, CEO, Bizdaq: "The transition from hard drive to cloud is one of the initial points of concern regarding data loss. Another cause of data loss is the manual elements in which data is held or transferred within a small business. Small businesses often have weaker infrastructure to hold or transfer data. We also hear that a common cause of loss of data is merely down to human error, and in turn the lack of expertise to have it retrieved."

While David Fisk, EMEA sales director at Quorum, commented: "Most small businesses don't normally get past the idea of backing up the server. That all being said, if a small business is looking at its contingency plan, the area most ignored would probably be disaster recovery.

"They consider a server failure or limited failure but find themselves ignoring issues that may include a site outage requiring the systems to come up off site. At that point they are back in the back up restore mode of multiple days down."