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Lost Data: to recovery or not recovery

December 26th, 2008

data lossA data loss has occurred – now what? Determining the need to recover lost data can be a difficult one. There are several things to take into consideration when determining if data recovery is required.

Backup, Backup, Backup
Everyone knows the importance of a good backup system, so your first step should be to determine if the data is actually backed up. Many times lost data is stored on a backup tape, backup hard drive, on the network or other various locations throughout an organization.

Unfortunately, locating and reloading the lost information can be time consuming and deplete resources. If a backup is located, it is important to check that the most recent copy of the data is available. Many times backups occur on a set schedule and if modifications to the data were saved after the backup occurred that information will not be accessible.

Re-Creation
Another important option to consider is if the data can or should be re-created. Two items to take into account when considering this option include the type of data lost and the amount lost:

  • Type of Data – Different data may have different perceived value. Recovering a customer database is (probably) more important than recovering a file containing possible names for a pet goldfish. Is the missing data a high-volume transaction database such as a banking record? This would be nearly impossible to recreate the thousands of transactions that were happening in real time. Other types of data may not be able to be re-created such as digital photos. Understanding the type of data that was lost is imperative to determining your next steps.
  • Amount of Data – Understanding how much data was lost can help you understand how much time and resources would be required to re-create the data. The more data lost, the more time and resources required to re-create it – if re-creation is even possible.

An additional point to consider is that with strict regulatory and legal requirements, many companies need access to their lost data in order to comply with these requirements. Accessibility to data and the legal requirements surrounding that data are essential to understand when considering if data recovery is necessary or not.

Data recovery costs can be difficult to plan for because they are unexpected. No one wants to lose data just like no one wants their car to break down or to have to call a plumber for a broken pipe. However, to help put it into perspective with other business related costs – vending services and that morning cup of coffee can run between $500 and $1000 every month for a small business office. An average recovery fee for a typical desktop, Windows-based system is around $1,000. Comparing those figures – the true value of data recovery becomes clear

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