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So you lost your data?

Madura McCormack | Dec. 13, 2012
What you should do if you think you have lost your data and how to prevent it from happening

The world is going digital, and along with it our memories, important documents and anything that can be turned into bytes. While data may not be tangible in a literal sense, the hardware in which we store it is, and everything physical, is breakable.

Kroll Ontrack recently revealed its list of top 10 data loss tragedies for 2012 and unless we strive to end up on the data recovery company's 2013 list, here is some advice on handling and preventing data disasters.

I think I lost it

According to the marketing programmes manager for Kroll Ontrack Australia, Marcel Mascunan believes that one in 1000 people will need data recovery in their lifetime.

Mascunan's advice to users: don't try to do it yourself. Though the wonders of the World Wide Web could teach users to recover their data, DIY data recovery could end up badly.

"We've seen customers who try to pry open the device, take it apart themselves, ultimately they destroy the device," said CK Lee, country manager for Kroll Ontrack Singapore.

The next step is to completely switch off the device, according to Kroll Ontrack. Time is of the essence.

"If you delete something accidentally, technically it's still there," said Mascunan. "But if you keep using the device, eventually you will overwrite it."

Once a user starts hearing whirring or grinding noises, that's the time to stop using the device and turn it off, according to Mascunan.

Calling the right data recovery vendor is important as well. Mascunan advices victims of a data disaster to check the credentials of the vendor and assess the personal value of the data loss.

Childhood photos and important documents would normally be data that has high value and should be recovered by only the most trusted of sources to prevent permanent extinction of memories or work.

"Look at the whole picture, what is the value of your data?" Mascunan advised.

How can I prevent it?

"No one thinks they will lose their data," Lee said, as he explained the importance of educating users about backing up all data.

Due to the shrinking form factors of devices, hardware is becoming very compact and there are many components jammed into a small space. Lee says that because of this, devices are more prone to failing.

"Make a back-up of your back-up," Lee chimed.

Apparently, storing data on one external hard drive is not a foolproof plan. Lee advises users to have a back-up on a secondary hard drive that remains desk bound.

"Don't carry it (the hard drive) around, if you don't put in your bag and shake it around you reduce the failure rate," said Lee.

Data loss could happen, it's better to be safe than sorry.


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