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Understanding data recovery services

You plan for emergencies in the hope that they’ll never happen. That’s why the average workplace (and home) contains smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. It’s also why most businesses would very much benefit from partnering up with a data recovery service. In spite of their name, the main point of a data recovery service is actually to stop you from losing access to your data in the first place, but if you do, then data recovery services will help you get it back as quickly as possible.

Common causes of data loss

There are all kinds of reasons why data could be lost, most of them can be grouped into one of three categories.

Technical issues

Technical issues can mean anything from issues with storage media, to issues with your operating system to issues with loading and syncing data.

Environmental issues

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While you might think that technical issues are responsible for the majority of data losses, environmental issues can also be a big deal. In this context, the term “environment” basically means anything to do with the surrounding area, which could impact the availability of the data. 

This could mean anything from poor environmental controls resulting in damage to the physical media on which data is stored, to losing access to the location in which it is stored (e.g. a flooded office), to being unable to access the data due to loss of infrastructure (e.g. during natural disasters).

Insider threats

The term “insider threats” may seem a bit harsh, since it suggests malice and, which malicious deletion (and data theft) does occur, when compared to the other factors, it’s probably not that big of a deal. If, however, you extend the term to include accidental deletions for one reason or another, then it’s easier to appreciate what a big issue it could potentially be. Put it another way, your staff don’t have to mean to do any harm to do harm.

Keeping your data safe

To be clear, keeping your data safe starts with knowing what data you have and why you have it. Then you can think about where it is stored (and where it needs to be stored) and who should have access to it. Even if you’re not obliged to follow GDPR, having a look at the documentation related to it can be a useful source of guidance as to how to develop effective data-security procedures.

Having just said all that, there are three basic approaches to data storage and retrieval and not only can they be combined, they often should be combined.

Local storage

Local storage used to be the standard and in many cases there are still arguments for using it, albeit not on its own. The advantage of local storage is that it should be possible to access it with the absolute minimum of delay because it is stored on-site. The disadvantage of local storage is that it is vulnerable to local threats. If you are going to go down this route then you not only need to keep security front and center at all times, but you also absolutely must have a Plan B and preferably a Plan C as well.

Cloud storage

The cloud might have been made for data back-ups, but even so, you need to do it properly. Basically there is no room for error with data-versioning and not only is it best to undertake this process through software (there’s all kinds of room for error with manual data-versioning). This is a strong argument for getting a proper data recovery service to do it for you.

The great thing about cloud storage is that you can access it from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. There are, however, two potential issues with this. First of all, in a real worst-case scenario, you may not have an internet connection and secondly there may be reasons why you would prefer at least some of your data to be stored offline, but not locally (or not just locally).

Storage in an offline vault There are three main reasons for storing data in an offline vault. The first is that it is often the most cost-effective way of storing data which is being archived because it might be needed for legal reasons (e.g. regulatory compliance) rather than data which might be required for business purposes. Secondly, no matter how good your network security is, storing data offline is the only way to be absolutely sure that it will be kept safe from cyberattacks. Thirdly, in the event of a natural disaster (or other issue) bringing down the internet, you will still be able to access your data and work locally. With all that said, keeping data safe in an offline vault is not as straightforward as it may sound, hence the advantage of using data recovery services.

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