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Strange tales of successful recovery Part 1

image of Abhik Mitra

12-Dec-2012 - Technology failures lead to data loss. Although nothing

has changed as far as what causes data loss – the one constant is the scope for human error. And since people are storing more data on their mobile devices, an increasing volume of users is reporting data loss incidents for tablets and phones.

“This whole notion of carrying a Terabyte in your pocket is becoming more real every day. The amount of storage is surreal and it’s an emerging trend,” said Abhik Mitra, Product Manager, Data Recovery, Kroll Ontrack.

The Kroll Ontrack Top 10 of stories of data recovery is an annual tradition.

“We reach out to our global lab and clean room engineers and ask for the most bizarre stories, which range from crazy to ‘I simply can’t believe that’,” Mitra said. “We factor in how complicated the recovery was, what led to the data loss, and if we were able to get everything back.”  

This year Mitra’s favorite story is the disgruntled employee who after having been let go went to a fast food restaurant and wiped his former employer’s servers clean.

“Interestingly the free WiFi at a local restaurant is very difficult to track,” said Mitra. “This person knew the gaps existed and took advantage of them. Ultimately the person was identified by his food purchase. The time of payment was matched to the network used when the data was deleted. Obviously having been fired he wasn’t thinking clearly. If you want to commit a crime then why run a credit card transaction at the same time?”

Organizations making split decisions on letting someone go typically take precautions. This one didn’t. Fortunately Kroll Ontrack got the company’s data back.

Hurricane Sandy and other tragic situations illustrate that nobody understands the extent of what can happen to data in those situations.

“We often tell customers back up your data,” he said. “It’s a simple rule. Two things we notice – they’re not backing up effectively, or not at all. While 80% of people agree backing up data is important, 20% aren’t doing it. What leads to data recovery in the first place is not backing up. That’s why the nature of this business remains as reactive as it is.”

If you are like most people and don’t back up your data, when you lose it, avoid doing your own recovery. There’s a 50% less chance of recovering your data if you’ve opened it up yourself. Leave the media in the state it’s in and don’t contaminate it further.

“Anyone sending us a hard drive is very concerned about who’s seeing it and who’s accessing it,” said Mitra. “We provide a number of tools via our portal so the client can monitor everything going on from the time we take custody of the data. We provide with a list of what’s recoverable, so they don’t make a commitment until the pertinent files are in there. We keep customers informed every step of the way. And when the damaged data is on tape that isn’t searchable, sometimes it’s easier, quicker, and less expensive to call in the recovery specialists.”

In Part 2 we’ll learn the top 10 Kroll Ontrack stories for 2012