Data Loss and Data Recovery
The Internet has evolved to become one of the essential tools business owners rely on. Unfortunately, the Internet comes with the responsibility of protecting your company’s sensitive business data. Have you ever thought about the implications if your business data were compromised? Imagine if your client database, your patient data, or even your company’s financials were publicly exposed or worse, lost entirely? Unfortunately, most small and medium business owners do not have the skills to navigate the maze of protecting and securing their business data.
Let’s talk about that for a moment, trying to handle your data security alone. Just as you would not take on your own legal matters, business owners should not try to manage their own IT and data security. Why not? It’s the old, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” When it comes to IT, doing it yourself often ends badly and can be costly. Hiring a competent IT vendor or managed service provider from the start can save you money in the long run and significantly reduce your data risks.
Let’s say this upfront. If you have good, off-site backups, you will not need the expertise of a data recovery service. Restorable backups are your best insurance against data loss. Please re-read that previous sentence. It’s an incredibly simple concept and commonly mismanaged by the vast majority of small and medium businesses we meet. Ask yourself, when was the last time I restored ANY business data from my company’s backups? If the answer is “never” or “I can’t remember.” I would encourage you to test your backups today.
What Is Data Recovery?
As the name implies, data recovery is the process of retrieving compromised or corrupted data. In a traditional sense, most IT people consider restoring data from your backups as data recovery. However, this article addresses your options when you don’t have your “backup house” in-order.
Before discussing data recovery, let’s discuss the common ways businesses lose their data.
What are the Most Common Causes of Data Loss?
Ways to lose data you may not have considered:
Data loss can occur when your data is encrypted through a ransomware attack. Companies lose their data every day through these malicious attacks. Don’t think your company is immune. In fact, your business is probably more vulnerable than you think. A ransomware attack is the number #1 threat to your data today. Unfortunately, traditional data recovery methods often fall short of recovering data hit by ransomware.
Employee, Vendor, Consultant Threats
Employees, vendors, consultants, etc. could intentionally or mistakenly delete your data. This happens all the time when an employee overwrites a file, deletes the wrong folder, wipes out their email when terminated, etc.
Your business data could be wiped out by programming errors introduced by software developers or consultants. Programming errors frequently happen, even with commercial software. Developers make mistakes, and your sensitive business data can be the victim.
Lack of Employee Security Training
One of the more common reasons behind data breaches is the lack of proper employee training. If your employees aren’t trained on how to keep your company’s data safe, it’s likely their behavior may have negative consequences. For example, opening fraudulent emails and downloading attachments that can easily result in lost data.
Public Access to Sensitive Data
Your sensitive data could end up getting published on the Internet in public venues you never anticipated. Google “Ashley Madison Data Breach” for a dramatic example of a company’s most sensitive “client” information lost to hackers.
Fires and Floods
A surprising amount of data is lost due to fire and flood. Don’t think it can’t happen to you.
Having employees share their passwords is a bad enough incident when it comes to protecting your company data. Having no restrictions to sensitive data is worse.
Have you ever considered what would happen if ALL your desktop PCs were stolen from your office? We’ve seen this first hand. Stolen server? Yes, we’ve seen that too. These are devasting losses because you no longer have the assets to perform data recovery on. Short of getting back the systems, and assuming you have no backups, your options in this scenario are severely limited.
Data Recovery – Why it Works and Why It Can be Expensive
Data recovery is the “last resort” when you don’t have current backups but still have access to your physical hard disks, etc. Keep in mind; traditional data recovery methods do not work for ransomware, system or password theft, or published information on the Internet. Data recovery works primarily when files or folders are deleted, or when a system has a hardware failure and but the hard disks/data are still intact
Data recovery is possible because ‘fragments’ of files may still exist on your system’s hard drive— even after they’ve been deleted, exposed to fire, water, or other physical damage. Even files partially damaged may be reconstructed through sophisticated data recovery methods. Files occupy multiple “clusters” of information on a hard disk. Some of these clusters may be damaged, while others may be intact. It is these “intact” data clusters the recovery software can focus on and resurrect your data.
In general, recovering lost files can be accomplished through the use of special data recovery software. This software is available on the Internet. This software is usually best for a small number of deleted files or folders and should be run as soon after the data deletion event as possible. Two highly respected data recovery tools are OnTrack EasyRecovery, and EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro
If your server has failed or you have lost a significant number of files/folders, things get more complicated. Servers often store their data across multiple hard disks in “stripes” to prevent data loss. Data recovery is still sometimes possible, but time-consuming and thus costly. We have seen server data recovery projects cost $20K or more depending on the amount of data recovered. This is intricate work, usually performed in a “clean room” and involves disassembly of the system hard disks and the individual data platters.
Need more extensive data recovery services? Let Ascendant comprehensively assess your options. Contact Ascendant Technologies, Inc., and we will coordinate your recovery project.
Don’t go this alone. Contact us today – 732-563-2675.