How to avoid a data loss disaster

In fact, our research reveals 45 per cent of data disasters in the virtual space are usually caused by human error while 30 per cent are caused by hardware problems.

In a virtualised environment the most important component is the data and this is the only thing that doesn't get virtualised. Users can reconstruct and recreate any other component in a virtual environment inside but this cannot be done with the data that is created. Businesses should be spending more money protecting data when they move to a virtual environment – and this doesn't always happen.

TRP: Is there a particularly memorable data recovery mission your company has performed?

PLM: Our engineers came to work one morning to find a businessman waiting in the parking lot. The gentleman had flown directly from Japan and was told by his company to not come back until the problem was solved.

The man worked for one of the world's biggest automotive companies and the blue print for a new sports car they had spent a lot of time and money designing had disappeared in a terrible data disaster. Without the information, the company would lose money as well as its market position as other competitors prepared for the launch of their new sports cars that same year.

So the team went straight to work on the files the man brought from Tokyo. Not only were they burdened with retrieving the lost data, but they also worried about saving the man's job!

Fortunately for the car company, there was a happy ending. After many hours of careful analysis and several painstaking attempts, all the data was restored. The manufacturers were thrilled and the sports car was launched. It quickly became one of the most successful Japanese cars of all time.

TRP: What's the best advice you can give in terms of protecting data?

PLM: Back up data whenever possible - preferably in multiple sites. Also, test your back up to make sure that your data has been properly saved. Make sure you are prepared if an accident should happen! Run a virus scan regularly and keep the virus software updated. Computer viruses are one of the worst enemies to data protection.

If you hear strange noises or grinding sounds, turn off the computer immediately. Further operation may damage their hard drive beyond repair.

Even if your hard drive is damaged by water, the data may still be recoverable. Never attempt to dry it by exposing it to heat. Instead, place the media in a container that will keep it damp before shipping to a data recovery company.

The key is to never be caught ouy during a data disaster. Always back up data and keep it safe.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.