In our previous blog we talked about the need to back up a variety of data and systems to protect your company’s most valuable resource, its’ data. But how, exactly, do you get that data back if it has been lost to a hardware or software malfunction, hacking, theft, server crash or even human error? Let’s take a look at different ways we can recover data that has been lost.
Four Data Recovery Methods
There are four main data recovery methods. Which of these you’ll need depends on many factors including, how was the data lost, do you have a working backup of the lost data, and whether or not the original equipment is still available.
Method One – Software File Recovery. File recovery, if previously enabled, is the easiest of the four data recovery methods. Many modern operating systems, such as Windows 10, can be configured to automatically save backup copies of files. This feature, called Previous Versions, creates a copy of a file and holds in a special backup storage area. In addition, server software such as Microsoft Exchange for example, have configurations where you can specify that backup emails should be retained for a certain period of days even after a user deletes them. Other software, such as Quickbooks or Microsoft Office, have features that automatically save or prompt you to save backup copies of databases and files each day. With a previously enabled file recovery feature setup in your software, restoring a lost file is sometimes as simple as right clicking on a folder to quickly browse through all files available for recovery.
Method Two – Restore from Backup. In some cases, restoring from backup is the only possible way to get your data back, especially in the event of theft or some types of hardware damage. Backup restoration is moderately difficult and there are two major factors that contribute to making restoration from backups so difficult. First, you must identify the method used to generate the backup and verify that you have a valid, recent backup containing the data you are looking for. Second, you must find a way to restore the data in a way that brings back data you need without destroying other working parts of the system in question. If everything lines up correctly meaning you have a recent, valid backup of the missing data, and you have the necessary equipment ready to restore it, restoring the data from backup can be accomplished quickly.
Method Three – Scanning for Lost Files. This is a highly advanced data recovery method and is only necessary when a backup isn’t available, file recovery is not enabled, but the original hardware is still working. With this method, various software tools, such as GetDataBack, are used to scan a hard drive and evaluate data fragments that have been lost but are still available to recover because they have not yet been overwritten. Unfortunately, this method is not guaranteed to recover lost data but has been known in some cases to help retrieve missing files.
Method Four – Clean Room Hard Drive Recovery. This is definitely the most advanced data recovery method and, sadly, is the last resort to restore missing data. This method is only necessary when all other methods have failed. File recovery was not setup, there are no recent backups, and scanning for lost files is unable to find any available files. This method is often the only way to recover data when a hard drive completely fails and a backup had not been made. In this method, the equipment is sent to a special processing lab where they attempt to physically extract data from a failed hard drive.
Preparing for Easy Data Recovery
As with everything in life, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to make sure we can recover all of our data in the event of data loss is to plan ahead. Proper data disaster planning involves setting up and maintaining all of the software and equipment so that the previously outlined steps work as intended. It means that, while everything is working correctly, we must configure file recovery options in our software, make sure that our data backups are running on a daily basis and backing up all important data, and secure our hardware and backups from theft and damage.
Hiring a competent IT firm such as My PC Techs to protect your data, systems, databases and e-mail ensures that you’ll have technology experts on hand who can keep your backups and data secure. In addition to evaluation and configuring data backups and security, another part of the data recovery process is practicing recovery – even when recovery isn’t required. Making sure you can recover data on a regular basis ensures that, when the worst-case scenario hits, down time is minimized and access is restored quickly.