Prevention

How to prevent data loss

Almost all data loss can be prevented by a few simple procedures

Why is data lost?

There are several reasons for data loss, and below are the the most common ones

  • Accidental deletion and other operator errors
  • Hardware failure
  • Physical loss of media, can include theft, fire, flood
  • Viruses
  • Malicious deletion of data
  • Operating system corruption
  • Damage after a power cut, or computer failure
  • Something unexpected happening

Methods to prevent loss

As will be seen from the above list the simple way to prevent loss is to have a second, or multiple copies of the critical data, in other words a backup. The level of backup required does depend to a large extent on the use of a computer, and how much data can be lost without a problem.  For a home user the requirements may be less than a commercial application, but it must always be considered that any data not backed up could be permanently lost. CnW Recovery will often recover data from many apparently impossible situations, but there are cases when even we can not help.  A simple example would be if the only hard disk with the data on was stolen.

The very simplest backup procedure is to store the user data on another medium. For a home user this may be photos, e-mails, letters, personal accounts, etc. If a total computer crash happened then it would be necessary to reload all the applications again. For a business user, a more automated restoration of data is required, and there are many good programs to perform these operations.  Thus the aim must be to have duplicate copies of the data on another computer based media as soon as possible.  This could be a CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM, a removable disk, tape or just a different computer.  However, long term life of CDs and DVDs is not very predictable and they can deteriorate and become unreadable over a few years.

The second element of any backup procedure is to separate the original and copy of the data into different physical locations. This is essential to cover fire, theft and some malicious activities. The simple, and very effective method is to take the backup to another address.  In a small business, subject to company policies, the easy method is to take the backup home. For domestic situations  take the backup to a friend, or even to work.  On a temporary basis,  just another room in the house, but do not leave it on top of the computer you have just backed up. Fire and theft and flood will certainly get both. Large data centres have mirror computer sites, many miles away, and often there is also a system of taking backup tapes to a third party storage location. Your bank, for instance should be able to suffer several major failures, but still never loose any customer data.

For really valuable data ensure there are several copies, stored in several locations, possibly on different mediums.

A very good way to keep backups, in multiple locations is to use an Online Backup system.  There are many available which will automatically backup files as they are added or changed.  Several packages have unlimited capacity for a fixed annual fee.  Initial uploading with broadband may take a day for each GB,  but after that, for normal use, the uploading is almost invisible.  The one we use at CnW Recovery is Carbonite. We have tested it to make sure that files can be recovered.

A final point, is that if encryption has been enabled, it is essential to have copies of the certificate, or key. Click in this link for more details

Recovery

When the above has not been put into action, or even the backup has failed, then contact CnW Recovery (info@cnwrecovery.co.uk). We can assess the situation and hopefully recover the data at a sensible price.  Though probably not as cheap is a good backup procedure, it will be lot less than the value of the data.

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