Issues of ethics and professional standards aside, your business has a vested interest in keeping data safe to avoid the costs associated with losing data. In the UK for instance, firms can be fined up to £500,000 for losing customers’ personal data and be ‘named and shamed’, creating massive reputational problems that further dent the company bank balance.
Your business should already have a backup plan in place that protects data against loss, and provides a way to recover information quickly in the event of a disaster. But what happens if your main system fails and the backup is found to be corrupt?
Laptop drive recovery – usually relatively easy
For a company laptop, data recovery should not be too big an issue. For starters most data should already be stored on the company servers, meaning that minimal file recovery is required (assuming your laptop user is adhering to corporate policy!). In most cases you should be able to get data back from a failed hard disk using a standard drive recovery tool like Kroll Ontrack EasyRecovery Professional.
Modern RAID arrays – a completely different beast
RAID arrays, common in just about every modern server or storage device, are famously difficult to recover in the event of a catastrophic disk failure. The way that data is written across multiple disks in an array is ingenious, improving I/O speeds and reducing the risk of loss – but it’s also the biggest problem where the number of failed drives exceed the array’s tolerance. Or when the array is accidentally re-initialized by a well-meaning but inexperienced engineer.
Received wisdom has it that where failures breach those tolerances, data is irretrievably lost – and for non-experts, that is certainly true. However in the (highly likely) event that you don’t have a low level drive specialist on the team, the best practice is to call hard drive recovery specialists to avoid any data loss.
Let’s get physical
Drive recovery is a serious business, requiring clean rooms, block sector disk copying technology, patience and a whole lot of skill. You only get one shot at RAID array recovery, and a mistake really could render data unrecoverable.
Among the steps required to get data back is the physical dismantling of drives to access platters, copy sectors from the original platters to new drives followed by the process of painstakingly piecing data back together until you have a working set of duplicate disks that can be re-inserted into the server/storage array for rebuilding.
Time vs panic
Obviously data loss and hard drive failure are a recurrent nightmare for the CTO, and on the day an array does fail, panic is a perfectly natural response. However RAID recovery services provide a ‘get out of jail free’ card – even if the process takes a day or two. Far better to face the wrath of users upset about temporary problems accessing data, than the board for losing data permanently.
So aside from ensuring you are taking regular, accurate backups and checking that they can be restored, you may want to seek out a RAID recovery specialist before you actually need to call upon their services.