As of June 1st, hurricane season is officially upon us. For those that live far from the East Coast, remember that you’re not out of harm’s way, either — multiple tornados have affected the Midwest so far this spring, while wildfires in California and mudslides in Colorado have also claimed homes, lives, and the blood, sweat, and tears of our treasured first responders.
What does all this have to do with businesses? This time of year, concerns about remote backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity become much more critical. Numerous studies indicate that catastrophic data loss is one of the most detrimental events that can occur to a small or medium-sized business. And the lack of a well-structured and frequently tested recovery or continuity plan can doom an organization if it’s affected by natural disaster.
Unfortunately, data loss happens all the time — in 2012, when Hurricane Sandy affected a large portion of coastal New Jersey and New York, thousands of businesses reeled from the storm’s devastating floods. Any number of other calamities — fire, structural damage, extended power outages — can also have similarly negative effects.
Which brings us to a pertinent data loss-related topic: the failure of hard drives, computers, or servers. Luckily, our trusted partners at Flashback Data have provided a number of tips that can help you get your critical business data on the road to recovery should a natural or manmade disaster strike. Some may seem like common sense, but others may come as a major surprise:
• If your hard drive is making odd noises (usually clicking) and is not recognized by your computer, do not keep powering it on and trying to get it to work. Odd noises usually indicate a physical problem with the mechanics of a hard drive, and repeatedly turning it on can scrape data off for good.
• If you delete critical data by accident, pull the plug. Data that is deleted and emptied out of the recycle bin is still recoverable as long as it is not overwritten. Using your computer for extended periods of time after a deletion increases the chances that you are writing over the old data on the drive since the file system now thinks it is free space.
• Do not install over-the-counter data recovery software on a drive with deleted data unless you make sure nothing gets written to that drive.
• If you have a multi-drive server failure, be very careful about swapping drives if you are not positive about which drives are bad and when each failed. Also, be wary of what manufacturers tell you to do to fix the server — they usually don’t care about your data as much as you do.
• Flash drives and solid-state drives fail too, but even a USB stick that’s broken in half can be recovered.
• If a hard drive is in a flood, keep it wet in distilled water or with a wet paper towel in a Ziploc bag — especially if it was in saltwater. When saltwater dries, it leaves terrible salt deposits on electronics that are very difficult to remove.
• If you have a hard drive that is in a fire, it is helpful to have the model number information from the factory (make sure you write it down and store in a safe place when you initially purchase the drive). Many times, labels on the drive are burned off, which can make it very hard to source parts for an unknown model.
Have questions about a hard drive, computer, or server failure? Think one of your systems could soon be on the fritz? Concerned about your company’s lack of remote backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity plans? Contact CMIT Solutions today. We know how devastating a disaster can be — and we’re here to make sure even the worst data loss calamity won’t knock your business out for the count.