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Every drive is going to die!

The information-technology manager’s life is not always an easy one. But it becomes a whole lot harder if you lose your company’s e-mail because of a faulty hard drive on a new e-mail server.

That happened not once, not twice, but three times so far this year to Tom Nortje, an IT manager for FCE Benefits Administrators oin the Western Cape.

Losing your company e-mail is always a headache. But Nortje needed every single message back as fast as possible. His company acts as a go-between for workers and their health plans. Any one of its e-mail messages could have carried an approval for a life-saving treatment.

So he turned to the data-recovery specialists at Data Detect. In each case, DD restored the data in a matter of hours and recovered to DVD’s.

Now he has formalized his company’s recovery plans, and specified who will get the job. “If all else fails, I’m going to go to Data Detect” he said.

We are starting to see the same customers again and again, as companies discover that no matter how careful they are, occasionally they are going to lose critical data off a computer hard drive that has quit working. And more and more often, companies are deciding that it’s worth spending some money to get that data back.

We have seen a 40 percent increase in repeat customers in Southern Africa in 2006 over 2005.

Experts say the increase in visits is not due to crummier hard drives. In fact, the opposite is true. Even while manufacturers cram more data onto the spinning platters, the life span of the average hard drive is increasing.

But businesses are running their computers harder and longer, and that greater wear is outstripping improvements in reliability.

With so many more computers in use, the odds are better than ever that some will conk out.

Additionally, the popularity of laptop computers in business has led to more work for data-recovery companies. Data Detect have seen laptops that have been dropped, backed over by corporate jets, crushed by farm tractors, set on fire by candles and, in one case, flushed part way down a toilet by an angry user.

And hard drives, the disk spinning inside the machine, simply start wearing out. It’s no different than if you drove your car forever.

Of course, companies try to avoid failures by backing up their data, but that doesn’t always happen. In fact, today’s more-complex networks make it almost impossible to create a perfect back-up system, Companies have to trade off the cost of backing up everything versus paying for the occasional data recovery.

But the No. 1 reason businesses are using data-recovery services more often is that they store more critical data than a decade ago.

“If I’m running a business off a server, and it crashes, that business isn’t going anywhere until that server goes back up,” said Doug Chandler, a storage and software services analyst with IDC in Pretoria.

Home-based businesses are just learning this lesson. One of our partners in Cape Town, makes an average of one data-recovery house call a week. “Their business is their life and they’re very good at their business,” he said of his customers, “But they’re not looking down the road and realising how much their data is in fact their business.”

To serve its repeat customers, Data Detect has streamlined the paperwork to ensure that it can turn around a hard drive shipped to them in three to five days. In some cases, requisition forms are kept on file so companies don’t have a delay.

Most companies don’t like to talk about data recovery, but some argue that especially now, with tighter regulations on data privacy, it’s smart to formalise your relationship with the company rescuing your data.

“You want a level of confidence with your data-recovery vendor,” says a leading private bank in Johannesburg. The account with Data Detect includes a nondisclosure agreement. “You don’t want just some mom-and-pop shop.”

“Every drive is going to die,” said Chanon, a Data Detect data-recovery engineer.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 11th, 2006 at 6:31 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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