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Protecting Your Data This Hurricane Season

Written By David Zimmerman, CEO of LC Technology

From June 1st to November 30th each year, businesses and personal property face a serious threat: hurricane season. For companies, a major concern around a hurricane or other natural disaster used to be damage to critical paper files, computers or furniture. Now, the risk of losing locally-stored data on electronic devices is one of the most pressing concerns.

Data loss can cripple the modern business by preventing communicating with customers, fulfilling orders or providing any type of service. Losing data to a disaster also negatively impacts a company's reputation. Thankfully, there are steps companies can take to prepare for disasters and remove their valuable data from the risk of the unknown.

Take Stock and Plan

Managing a disaster safely and effectively means putting in work before the disaster actually strikes. Start the process by creating multi-department disaster recovery and planning documents. This will detail evacuation procedures, communication protocols, and other human-safety related information. Among those critical pieces of preparedness, this plan must include a section on data management and recovery.

A first consideration for company managers who are protecting their company's data is to take the time to identify the data sources. The unknown cannot be protected, so create a process to document every source of information. This includes information from the company's website, surveys, product R&D documents, internal HR information and many others. Detail where this information resides, how frequently it's updated, and then how the company can protect the information securely, easily and at the best cost for your budget. Think about the state of any data stored locally and how it would fare against a hurricane and floodwaters. This data organization phase is vital because it encourages multiple departments across a company to think about data as an asset that deserves protection.

Look to the Clouds

A core part of a data recovery plan is to put safeguards in place to effectively remove the chances of complete data loss. Using a cloud backup service gives companies an inexpensive and reliable way to protect all of their data in real time. The cloud is a much more sensible option than storing data on-premises through a traditional server room setup. With the cloud, employees can pull information they need dynamically through the internet. Another option is to store the data locally, but set it to constantly backup to the cloud so a retrievable copy of the information is always available in case of a hardware error because of rain or other damage. Cloud storage falls in price year-over-year, so it's advisable to use multiple cloud providers for the most important data. Here are some tips for moving to the clouds:

  • Pick a major cloud provider such as AWS or Google.
  • Consider using private clouds (instead of multi-tenant public clouds) for the most sensitive information.
  • Establish protocols for accessing the cloud accounts, especially in terms of access rights and managing login credentials.

Recover the Right Way

Perhaps you didn't have time to put cloud backups in place, or you only moved some data sources and kept others locally. In either case, there are still ways to retrieve data from damaged hard drives. Avoid using "free" software utilities found through a quick Google search. These tools promise to pull information from damaged or malfunctioning drives, but don't usually work and are frequently filled with malware. During the extraction process, these programs can corrupt your data and possibly permanently damage its integrity.

The better solution for damaged drives, and especially those soaked in saltwater, is to employ the services of an experienced data recovery company. These firms use specialized tools and software to retrieve data. Pick a firm with a verified track record of working on disaster-recovery cases that understands how to safely and securely retrieve data.

Beyond employees, data is often the most valuable company asset. Many businesses that lose their data go out of business because they can no longer serve their customers' needs. A proactive data recovery plan that leverages the cloud and expert recovery providers is the best way to get a company through a disaster relatively unscathed.

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About the Author

 

David Zimmerman, CEO of LC Technology International, Inc., has been in the hardware/software industry for over 30 years, specifically in the data recovery software market for 18 years.

Published Thursday, May 16, 2019 7:27 AM by David Marshall
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