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Top 10 data disaster stories of 2011

Information management, data recovery, and legal technology provider Kroll Ontrack has announced its annual Top 10 Data Disasters for 2011.

From human error to natural disaster, this annual list of real data loss situations reveals data loss is often inevitable, but not necessarily permanent.

10. Bad image
An actor deleted her entire portfolio including her model card samples and recent pictures by accidentally selecting the wrong externally attached USB drive using the MAC disk utility program. Kroll Ontrack was able to recover her image entirely.

9. Virtual reality
To increase system performance, an IT administrator split the C and D partition of his virtual server across two different systems. Running out of space, the admin needed to rush and consolidate C and D onto the same system. Not knowing that the same naming convention already existed on the target system, he copied over the important data set.

8. Magnetic attraction
A laptop was set down on a desk near some rare earth magnets. The earth magnets came into contact with the laptop and when the user went to turn on the machine, it did not boot up all the way and there was a clicking noise. While there was physical damage to the platters, proprietary techniques overcame the damage and the data was recovered.

7. End of month disaster
A corporate accounting department stayed late to reconcile the books for the month. While rejuvenating on a coffee break, a power outage occurred. All of the computers shut down including financial server. Luckily the department’s computers were connected to an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). However, the continual brewing of their cups of java drained the UPS battery, resulting in a crashed server.

6. Sunken business deal
Two businessmen met in a pub to discuss their future deal over a beer. The server accidentally knocked over one of the glasses she was delivering, soaking the laptop which contained the business plans. A paper towel was not enough to save the laptop and its important deal files.

5. Smoking kills
A newly hired security guard was doing his first evening security check in a chemical ingredients warehouse. While he was informed that smoking is forbidden, he pondered who could possibly spot him enjoying a cigarette after company hours. After it was lit, the fire alarm sounded and prompted the anti-fire sprinkler system. All the electronic equipment, including 44 desktops and two servers, were flooded.

4. In the safe not on the safe
To avoid arriving late to a business meeting, an IT person opted to put a tape drive on top of the waterproof safe instead of inside it. Within an hour of doing so, the city was struck by a powerful earthquake and the tape was knocked to the ground. Then, the premise was engulfed by mud, water and sand. The tape looked unrecoverable, but Kroll Ontrack proprietary tape recovery technology was able to recover 100 percent of the data, which included one year of TV and web animations.

3. A little piece of history
A freelance photographer happened to be with a camera during the recent London riots. Some rioters saw they were being filmed and opted to smash the camera to destroy the potentially incriminating evidence. The camera made its way to Kroll Ontrack where 100 percent of the data and the video footage was recovered and supplied to the police.

2. Doggy eat dog world
A man encouraged his girlfriend to back up her photo library, which contained thousands of high resolution photos from her photo studio. She diligently moved the data from her laptop to an external hard drive, and unfortunately that became the only good copy. A friend then pulled into the driveway and the couple went out to meet her, but not before the hyper, happy family dog heard someone at the door and came tearing out from underneath the table where the drive is sitting. The drive went crashing to the floor, damaging the only good copy of this data.

1. Triple whammy
When a lightning strike caused a fire that sent a famous Caribbean island home up in smoke, the computer servers were burned and then doused with water by the fire squad. The media then corroded while the building sat idle until it was safe to re-enter. In the end, the triple whammy of a lightning strike, fire and water damage was overcome in the Ontrack Data Recovery cleanroom.

If your data is important or valuable, it is important to go straight to a professional for the best chances for data recovery success. Not only do we regularly recover data other companies have deemed not recoverable, but all too often, we see individuals attempt recoveries themselves or opt for the least expensive option, which ends up resulting in more cost.

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Adrian Briscoe

Adrian Briscoe

Adrian Briscoe is general manager Asia Pacific for Kroll Ontrack, a provider of cutting-edge data recovery services and software to business and home users. Based in Brisbane, Adrian oversees the Ontrack Data Recovery services and software for the company’s offices in Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong. He originally joined Kroll Ontrack as an Electronic Evidence Consultant in the organisation’s London office. Prior, Adrian spent five years in Hong Kong with PricewaterhouseCoopers in its Corporate Finance & Recovery division. Adrian has more than 20 years’ experience in the IT industry, initially starting out as a protocol specialist in London, working with IBM mainframe, mini and desktop systems.

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