5 Lessons For Data Survival From a Top Disaster Recovery Team

Posted on November 2, 2020 Backups & DR
Be prepared when disaster strikes! Protect your data on NETdepot and recover to any platform you need with our disaster recovery as a service team.

Here at NETdepot, we offer Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). Without a service like ours, data loss at the wrong time and place can literally destroy a business. 

It’s important that a business understand just what data loss could mean for their future. It can mean crippled operations, lawsuits, and more. 

So what’s the trick to surviving these digital disasters? That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today!

1. Back Up Your Data

Imagine if a hospital or bank lost your data. It happens; they’re the frequent targets of hackers.

In the wrong circumstances, such a loss might literally destroy your life. Meanwhile, it could cost the business millions in lawsuits and lost business. 

Luckily, these businesses also often have the wherewithal to back up their data, greatly reducing the impact a disaster might have. Backing up data isn’t hard either, especially if you choose to use our cloud storage service.

If you consistently back up data, storing the copies on either reliable drives or the cloud, permanent data loss becomes much more difficult. Accidental deletion becomes virtually impossible and hackers now need to both find and destroy two copies of a file to cause a problem.

Cloud storage has the added benefit of guarding against traditional disasters, like fire or hurricanes. Even if your building and everything in it is literally destroyed, any data stored on the cloud will be safe.

We actually recommend backing up your data physically even if you also use NETdepot or any other cloud service. This all but guarantees your data will be safe and accessible in even the most dire of circumstances. 

2. Secure Your Computers

It’s rare a business expects to be the target of hackers. However, the negligence ignoring the risk of hacking poses actually makes it more likely you’ll be a target. After all, hackers are attracted to easy prey.

Protecting against hacking is difficult if you’re not tech-savvy.

You’ll need to train your employees not to give away important information without proper verification, keep your computers updated, and more. You should also learn about common hacker attacks, consulting guides like this one on ransomware released by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). 

Once again, this is an area where NETdepot can be a big help. We can help you assess threats to your company and even test to see how easy you are to hack, without posing an actual risk to your data and customers. If you’re interested, check out our Security as a Service (SaaS) offerings.

3. Hard Drives Will Fail

Without getting overly into the intricacies of data storage, probably the most common ways companies store large amounts of data is on hard drives (HDDs). Because of their moving parts, these drives generally only last between 3 and 5 years.

If you’re not sure how your computer or computers are saving files, it is probably through an HDD. If one ignores their failure rate, they tend to be the cheapest option available and come standard in many pre-built PCs. It is only relatively recently that alternatives have become widely affordable.

Exactly how long your HDDs, in particular, can last admittedly will vary. Proper storage can extend their life (as can infrequent use of the drive). The harder you are on them, the more wear and tear they will experience.

What you do with this information really depends on you. If you’ve taken our tip to back up your data to heart, a failing drive hopefully is an issue that at least won’t prove catastrophic.

Our advice would be to at least store critical data on either a solid-state drive (SSD) or the cloud. SSDs are a slightly more expensive piece of data storing hardware, but they should last decades with regular use. While they used to be quite costly, there are now SSDs available at extremely reasonable price points, especially when you factor in the cost replacing an HDD will eventually have.

The option of the cloud is of course also available and carries all the benefits we’ve mentioned in previous points. Companies that run cloud storage services have huge banks of well-maintained computers to store your data.

Experts, like those at our own service, are more than prepared for the occasional problem with hardware failure. It should essentially be a non-concern on your end; data is kept backed up and any hardware issues immediately fixed so loss is basically impossible.

4. Don’t Ignore Odd Happenings

One of the earliest signs something is wrong with a drive is odd behavior. If files are occasionally corrupted or suddenly inaccessible, that can be the sign of a bigger problem. Even if the files are later accessible again, that doesn’t mean the problem never happened.

A healthy data storage system should basically work 100% of the time. As soon as something goes awry, it is time to jump into action. It is much easier to fix a data storage problem before total disaster actually hits.

Drives have a habit of breaking fast once a problem starts to actually become apparent. You can almost think of it like a tower of blocks; once one block is out of place, the rest becomes less stable.

The most obvious problems will occur if the drive with your OS on it begins to fail. Your computer may not boot correctly or may start acting erratically; its brain is essentially no longer working the way it should.

Less obvious will be when other drives fail. Files may disappear or simply show up as corrupted garbage. In some cases, the entire drive may be inaccessible.

If this occurs, back up your files immediately and get rid of the drive, even if it seems to start working normally again.

It may seem wasteful to get rid of a drive that isn’t acting odd anymore, but it could fail again at any time (and probably soon). You can no longer trust it will keep the files you put on it and there isn’t really a way to reliably fix a failing drive. It is now basically just scrap.

5. Understand Disaster Recovery as a Service

DRaaS can be a critical lifeline when all else fails. Services like the one we offer allow data to be pulled off drives that your computer may not be able to access anymore.

Exactly how this works is a bit technical but the basics is that often data isn’t completely lost when a drive starts to fail. Usually what happens much sooner is it just gets skewed in such a way that your computer simply can’t see it anymore. Using special programs and technology, our team can often help pull that invisible or semi-invisible data and put back into a form you can use.

As for deleted files, recovery is also often possible, but only to a point. Initially, deleting a file doesn’t actually completely erase it. Employing disaster recovery early is critical in this case.

When you delete a file, your computer basically just allows new files to wipe out the deleted one. But this doesn’t happen until your computer actually needs the space. Until then, the old file may not show up but basically exists as a ghost on your drive.

Once the file is actually wiped, it is gone for good. But it can be recovered until that happens. (Notably, this is also why you should make sure to use special programs to completely delete a file if it had sensitive information on it that you want to make sure others cannot access.)

The reason we mention this is that it isn’t magic. Data can’t be recovered that is literally gone. For example, a drive melted in a fire or crushed in a compactor can almost never have its data recovered. 

This is also why you should pay for data recovery as soon as there is an issue, not wait. The longer a drive is failing, the more likely it is a file will become so corrupted as to either be erased or so damaged as to effectively be useless.

Has Disaster Hit? NETdepot Can Help!

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how to protect yourself from disaster. At the same time, even the best-laid plans can fail! If you’re suddenly faced with data loss, it’s time to call in the experts.

NETdepot can not only help secure you from threats and back up your data, but we can also help you recover from data loss if it’s too late for those services to be much use.

Our Disaster Recovery as a Service experts can thoroughly go through your drives and greatly reduce the impact of just about any data loss. NETdepot’s Data Recovery as a Service can help save your company from hours of lost work, angry customers, and more!

Contact Us Today To Experience How We Can Save You Time, Money And Stress