The Last Line of Protection: Data Recovery and Disaster Preparedness


The saying “lightning never strikes twice” is kind of a weird one. It’s meant to imply that if you have an opportunity, you should take it, because it might not come around again. It’s strange because, except for Ben Franklin, Marty McFly, and Dr. Frankenstein, lightning strikes are always a bad thing (and even the last one is ambiguous at best). No one who has been hit by lightning thinks, “Well, it’s too bad that’ll never happen again,” because 1) lightning can strike twice, and 2) it only needs to strike once to precipitate a disaster.

If you are a small business, you should understand that a lightning strike can be a disaster for your business. There are numerous stories of lightning strikes destroying servers, but disaster doesn’t have to come via a jolt from above. There are a lot of ways that your data can be destroyed and you can be cut off from your small business. That’s why data backup and data recovery is of vital importance to maintain continuity. It’s why getting professional help for it can help protect you from the worst possible outcomes.

Physical Recovery as the First Wave of Defense

For non-engineers, computers can be weird things. They are so fast, and so powerful, and mimic the actions of the human brain well. We ascribe to them an almost metaphysical quality when it comes to data storage. Likewise, we feel that their capacity for memory is much like ours: hard to understand and nearly mystical. But even metaphorically, that’s not true. We know that a jolt to the head can damage our memories and, in the same way, a physical mishap can destroy the data storage in your computer.

This happens when something goes wrong with the hardware. The mechanics of a computer involve millions, even billions of transistors on the circuit board. When something bad occurs–from a power surge from a lightning strike to an employee spilling their coffee on the keyboard–you can lose a lot of memory.

However, all is not lost. Just as in the movies, the amnesiac is brought back by returning to the scene of the crime. A computer technician can extract data from the ruined files by restoring the connections that have been severed (often by soldering the transistors back together). A good tech can use magnetometers to extract the data from the magnetic media file. Think of it as helicoptering survivors out of Jurassic Park. In these cases, a qualified data recovery team can recover up to 80% of the data from a computer.

Data Recovery and Disaster Preparedness – The Big Event

Of course, the damage is more if a server goes down. In this case, you might have lost, or be denied access to, all the information you need to maintain business continuity. The few days where you can’t reach customers can create a breach of trust and eat away at the small margins defining your success. It’s estimated that if servers go down, a business can lose tens of thousands of dollars a day.

The problem is that there are a lot of different potential lightning strikes. A virus can infect your whole system based on one bad download from an employee, or due to a malicious hack. A weak password can compromise everything. A bad storm, a small fire, an earthquake–any of these things can lead to a shutdown. And, while in the case of a natural disaster, business as usual might not be the first thing on your mind. Getting back to normal as soon as possible is vitally important.

That’s why it is so important to have a data backup and data recovery plan. A good data backup system employs a series of redundancies. Often, offsite storage so that if your data goes down somewhere, it can be easily retrieved from somewhere else. It’s always important to have backups, from simple flash drives to external servers to cloud storage. Working with the right team here can make all the difference for your business.

Weather Related Disasters

The problem with lightning is that it is unpredictable. A clear sky can suddenly become wild and cloudy, and that angry crackle can jolt out of nowhere, a kind of random malevolence. Data backup and data recovery can protect you from such randomness so that you, much like ol’ Doc Frankenstein, can look at your business and yell, “It’s alive!”

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