No one is arguing that we aren’t truly in the digital age at this point. Ever since the mid-90s when Windows 95 came out, making computers understandable to the masses and the World Wide Web something actually useful to average people, everyone has always argued that that particular year was when we truly entered this digital age. Well, if you ask us, recent events have thrust us into the true, actualized digital age. The need to socially distance resulted in everyone adopting the Internet as the primary form of communications, interactions, entertainment, business and learning altogether. This is a permanent change to social attitudes, one originally predicted to take at least a couple more decades to occur during more peaceful, certain times.
In spite of this, with the rapid advancement of computing and various schema therein, you probably feel like you’re pretty safe. And, to be honest, most of the time, you probably are unless you are an enterprise level business or a business with a polarizing corporate culture that triggers ne’er-do-wells online to use you as a scapegoat to make some sort of counterculture statement.
If you’re smart, and we are certain that you are, you have taken every measure possible to ensure that your data is secure and durable. You do backups at least weekly if not daily, you use solid-state storage rather than traditional hard drives and you probably make some use of the cloud for redundancy and offsetting the cost of local servers. Well, not all of your data can probably be stored on the cloud, but we will get to that in a moment.
First of all, let us point out that even solid-state storage is far from indestructible and is also definitely not immune to entropy during usage. If you actually look at solid-state storage systems, the packaging, manuals and specifications will very clearly point out that it is only rated for so many write and read cycle for it becomes unreliable. 99.9% of these devices far exceed their ratings for read/write cycles, but beyond the number rated, they could go at any time. It is also worth noting when talking about these that long-term use of these for backup and archival purposes is actually not practical. At the very longest, they will retain their data for around 10 years before zeroing out, this being due to the strange way in which they work, a floating bit of conductive material utilizing a magnetic field in order to hold values when there is no current.
It is also worth noting that cloud storage is problematic for the moment. There is a lot of data that simply can’t be put on the cloud, this being a third-party archival and storage provider, your various security contracts for being certain sensitive customer and business data being handled by 3rd parties like this. There is also another weakness with cloud storage, one we will address in a moment when we talk about the threat in greater depth.
Okay, so we talked about how even solid-state memory is far from a mortal, the same goes for optical storage, even permanent optical storage like CDR’s. Eventually, the foil will begin to decay in a process known as bit rot, and to be perfectly honest with you, these optical storage media are the most pernicious and difficult to recover when they are sufficiently degraded. That is, even when they can be recovered at all. Data recovery services will be the first to tell you that sufficiently-damaged optical media may be irrecoverable. Data recovery is not magic, after all, even if it can seem like it at times.
Your backup tapes, if you’re still using industrial tape for your backups, can and will be zeroed out over time as well, magnetic storage being somewhat volatile. You can’t rely on these backups in the case of certain disasters we will describe shortly, it is out of date within a day of being written, but still important when data recovery is necessary.
But, what can data recovery services do for you, what are the other threats that mean you should have one ready even before you need it? The first one is fairly obvious, that being disasters like fires, floods, power surges, you know the types of things. Hard drives, solid-state drives and other storage media don’t like power surges, water or fire. Data recovery services can often recover fire-damaged hard drives, solid-state drives and the like, but something as fragile as tape, optical media and the like may be lost, meaning you should never rely on them too heavily.
Of course, the biggest threat you face is the human one. The traditional idea of hackers performing corporate espionage and fraud, while still a real threat, is a bit overhyped as a prominent threat. The bigger threat is a simple cash grab scam involving ransomware. This diabolical software goes through all of your files, databases and so forth, even ones on the cloud if you are currently connected, and it encrypts them all so that they are illegible without a master cipher. Unfortunately, these jerks will just give you that master cipher, oh no. That isn’t their goal, their goal is to extort you, and they can do it quite proficiently by demanding large amounts of crypto currency in exchange for the cipher.
Well, data recovery services can usually get past this sort of technology, having expertise in cryptography and so forth, eventually getting you back on your feet. The longer it takes for them to sign a deal with your company and get started, the more money you will lose. This is why you should have data recovery companies on hand and ready to handle an emergency the moment it is detected, time is money after all.
Don’t let this new digital world scare you, data recovery services have your back, data recovery is more advanced than it ever has been, and with the world being so all-digital, they are only going to grow as an industry moving forward.