How to keep Data Secure in a Disaster

What would happen to the data on your computer if you experienced a disaster?  All of us, no matter where we live in the United States (or elsewhere), at some point face fire, hurricanes, tornadoes  earthquakes, computer failure, small children spilling drinks, and more.  But even though we know that, how many of us have actually gone ahead and backed up our personal files in case of emergency?

In June 2012, a blog called Backblaze even celebrated “backup awareness month” which complemented a survey that they completed showing only 10% of computer users backup their data daily or more often.  That means that 90% of us do not back up our data on a regular basis. source

The following tips are meant for the large majority who don’t backup their computer files:

Be Aware–  Has your computer been making odd sounds?  Grinding when it’s trying to process a large file?  Clicking when trying to turn on?  Don’t ignore these signs, but be ready to act.  Shut down your computer immediately and unplug it from the power source.  After you have done this, remove the hard drive because hard drives are sensitive to static and jarring.  Lastly, take your hard drive into a reputable data recovery provider.

Identify a Professional – Yes, in the previous point, we did say bring your hard drive to a “reputable data recovery provider”.  If your computer is making terrible death sounds, instead of attempting to recover any data yourself through diagnostic or repair tools, have a computer professional identified ahead of time.  Ask your friends for recommendations of computer pros that they have had good experiences with.  Research your area through local search to find qualified computer stores that provide the services that you might need.  Many local search engines like Google+ Local and Facebook allow previous customers to post reviews of companies.  Use these reviews to your advantage.  You can also check proof of industry certifications and security protocols to make sure that the computer professionals that will be recovering your data are reputable and security-minded to prevent any kind of fraudulent use of recovered information. Ask about that vendor’s manufacturer authorization to open drives without voiding a warranty, security and industry certifications to ensure data is safe while out of your in-house secure network and recovery methods and capabilities.

Maybe Data is Still There–  If you haven’t experienced any weird sounds as in #1 above, make sure you just haven’t misplaced the data that you are trying to find. Use your search or “Start” features on your computer to look for the file.  Often times doing this will locate the missing file.  If using search doesn’t successfully yield the file, try looking into your computers trash or desktop.

Invest in Backup – Purchasing a redundant backup system and always making sure that this software is up-to-date are two of the best prevention measures for protecting your data.  Have procedures in place to make copies of critical data files and use software compatible with the operating system and applications that your computer uses.  Also, don’t forget about Anti-Virus software, but don’t rely on the software to be cautious for you.  Make sure to continue to scan all incoming data for corruption, even if you have Anti-Virus in place.

Know What You Have – Make a plan (now, before a disaster happens), including a complete inventory of the storage-based hardware that you use.  Also, cloud-based data storage, like Dropbox, has become popular in the past couple of years.  Maybe one of the best solutions for protecting your data is to not store it all on your computer so that having your information doesn’t solely depend on your computer working or dying.

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Image: Victor Habbick, stockimages & Pixomar

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Eric Wagner

Eric is a CEO with a background in marketing and search engine optimization specialist (SEO). In his free time, Eric enjoys exercise, gardening, technology, a good book, and spending time with family and friends.

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