Although data backups are now commonplace and a vital part of an IT department’s standard operating procedure, any system has pitfalls making it vulnerable to problems. Chief among these is the cost of establishing and maintaining a working back-up system. Instituting a top-quality back-up system often means creating a regularly scheduled back-up procedure and storing the backups in a protected (alternate) facility physically separated from the systems it is protecting – often setting up mirrored sites on alternate power grids. Once in place, such systems must be tested regularly to maintain their integrity and ensure proper working order – a task many companies don’t have the time or resources to perform. Additionally, files are often missed in the backup process because the system does not update to match the company’s evolving data storage footprint and/or corrupted data is backed up and not recognized until attempting to restore.
Impact on Businesses
These scenarios can result in failed backups, leaving a company unprepared to deal with data loss situations. Without a solid data recovery plan as a component of their overall disaster recovery plan, businesses can waste valuable time searching for a data-loss solution.
The actual cost of downtime and lost data are staggering. According to a Cost of Downtime 2001 survey of companies:
• 46 percent said each hour of downtime would cost up to $50,000.
• 28 percent said each hour of downtime would cost between $51,000 and $250,000.
• 18 percent said each hour of downtime would cost between $251,000 and $1 million.
• 8 percent said each hour of downtime would cost more than $1million.
The cost of downtime can also have a direct effect on the very survival of a company. According to the same Cost of Downtime survey, when the participating companies were asked at what point the survival of their business was at risk:
• 40 percent said 72 hours.
• 21 percent said 48 hours.
• 15 percent said 24 hours.
• 8 percent said eight hours.
• 9 percent said four hours.
• 3 percent said one hour.
• 4 percent said within the hour.
Such statistics reveal the importance of acting quickly when faced with data loss. The misconception that data cannot be recovered after a disaster causes unnecessary panic, work and wasted time. Computer users and many experts often consider lost data permanently destroyed, with no hope of recovery. Additionally, because much information about data loss and recovery is inconsistent or inaccurate, such concepts are often extremely confusing and misunderstood. The fact is that existing technology offers options to recover data from the most unlikely situations in as quickly as a few hours.
Whether a tornado throws a computer 100 yards through the air, a flood drowns the hard drive, or a virus wreaks havoc through an entire system, data recovery is always possible. Even when all other attempts to restore data have failed, recovery can retrieve data feared lost forever.
Alerting experts immediately provides the best chance of recovering data quickly and getting a business back on track. By being proactive a company can save both time and money addressing data loss before it happens. More importantly, it can establish peace of mind and better ensure the continuity and health of its business.
Jim Reinert serves as director, software and services, for Kroll Ontrack. In this position since December 2002, Reinert handles the technology and business development, and product line management of the recovery services and software business lines. Reinert has been with Ontrack since 1987, involved in many aspects related to the development and sales and marketing of Ontrack Data Recovery products and services.