How important is your data to you?

Let's talk about data...

Well, I guess it's not much of a discussion, it's a blog post, but I digress. I wanted to talk a bit about how we treat data in today's digital age. I have two children, boys aged 5 and 10. About 8 years or so ago, I had a hard drive that was starting to fail, and needed to be replaced. At the time, we had bought a new digital camera and were of course snapping photos like mad, as everyone does. We had all of our pictures on this one drive. (you know what is going to happen, right?) I burned the collection onto a DVD, and being the diligent type I popped the DVD back into the drive after done, and opened it up to make sure all the files were there. I formatted the drive, reinstalled Windows, and put the DVD in to copy the files back to the new drive.

Here is where things went bad. All the folder STRUCTURE was there, filenames were correct... however all the files were 0KB in size. That's right, something went awry with the copy and I didn't catch it. Luckily since I am a tech nerd I had the tools to scan a drive after a full format and recover what files weren't damaged after the OS had overwritten the blank space on the drive. (When you a "delete" a file on a drive, it's not really gone right away. The OS has just marked that area as available space.) I was able to recover about 85% of the pictures, and more importantly I was able to convince my wife to stop pointing the rifle at my head for losing every picture we ever had of our child. Since that time, I now have a FreeNAS box set up, for all my media storage. All my phones are linked to a Dropbox account so that if a phone dies, I have those "in the cloud" as well. It took a near catastrophe for me to treat my data as if the media it lived on could die at any time.

Just the other day I had a client bring in a hard drive, he desperately needed data from it. He had his current QuickBooks data on it, and his last backup was apparently pretty old. He had done all the right things before bring it to me, and did my best to see if we could get his file back. Yes, I tried freezing it, and even the 2 foot drop. I hate to let technology best me, but in this case it was simply physically toast. I called the time of death, and rendered the bad news. He was going to have to spend a nice hunk of hourly wages to have someone go back and input all his records and get the company file up to date. There are forensic data recovery companies out there, but you better be ready to spend around one or two thousand dollars to go that route. If it was your only copy of your family photos, you might be opening up that checkbook.

We have been successful in data recovery for countless clients thus far, in a scenario where that is indeed possible. Formats, drives that failed SMART checks but haven't died yet, nasty virus infections and more. We utilize a linux utility called "dd" to make a full image of the drive, and then do data recovery against that in order to not further stress a hard drive that is knocking on death's door.

Both of these scenarios would have been avoided with a simple backup plan. A good plan involves a process you don't have to think about, it just quietly happens in the background. There are a myriad of ways to tackle that, and we at Interspace can help you find a cost effective solution to fit your needs. From a business needing a solution for mission ciritical data, to a personal user who knows enough to take a picture and get it on the computer (but not much else) we can help find a solution for you.

(credit for posted image goes to

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