January 15, 2014 § Leave a comment
A crashed hard drive is every computer user’s worst nightmare. We know we need to backup “soon” but we put it off all too often until one day, Poof!
Christopher Tan is owner of Xyon Systems + Services – a “good to know service” when the thing you hope never happens to you, does. Since my work involves helping people create their space systems (for one, so they find what they need the moment they need it), the business of “recovering lost data” naturally fit right up my alley.
What is your work about?
We provide professional Computer Data Recovery Services. We recover data from storage devices such as hard drives, flash drives, SD Cards, CDs or DVDs that have become inaccessible during normal computer usage. We cater to anyone (from individuals to corporations) who needs help in recovering lost data.
From your experience, what are the most common causes of data loss?
Causes of data loss can range from mechanical failure, human error, natural disaster, power surges to computer viruses.
What are the top reasons why hard drives crash?
All hard drives eventually break down. At any point of its life, the hard drive can crash on its user. Data loss is not an issue of brand or (OS) operating systems (Mac, Windows, Linux) but more about backup practices.
What are some good practices that we can do to protect information we keep?
1. Make time to do backups. Users typical excuse: “No time or too busy to do it.” If stored data is important, you have to invest time to keep it safe.
Set up a routine schedule for backups (put it on your calendar). How often? A rule of thumb is – the more “critical” the data, the higher the frequency. Backing up is the best prevention against data loss.
2. Assess and prepare what you need ahead. Have the proper storage device ready before starting and assess how long the backup can take.
Example: A 60GB iPhoto library may need 15 pcs. of single layer DVD and about 4 hours to back up the data. Add in the time it takes to organize folders, create copies and even potential delays caused by disk error. (Remember to test duplicates before deleting information from the hard drive.)
3. Use high quality storage for archiving. Seagate, Verbatim, Maxell or Philips.
What are other ways to back up data? How safe is that?
An external hard drive is an ideal media for backup but to use this as working hard drive or a daily data storage solution is not a good idea. Hard drives when dropped tend to lose its data. Use external hard drives for back up purposes only containing copies of your data. Heavier hard drives are ideal as the owner will think twice before bringing it outside the home or office. Backups are best stored in one safe place, where kids or cleaners will not accidentally bump and drop it.
An alternative to hard drives is the SSD or Solid State Drives. It is similar to Memory (or RAM) but stores data like the USB flash drive. It’s faster and more expensive than hard drives. SSD addresses some of the issues that cause data loss on a hard drive like ‘dropped’ or ‘shock’. SSD also encounters technical failure, which can also cause data to be inaccessible.
Cloud storage is another option. Customers pay by GB and must have stable internet connection. Customers need to check the security level and price per GB before signing up.
The “success” of a backup process depends on the practice, policy and combination of technologies. No single technology can guarantee 100% data protection. The user has to formulate policies and guidelines to support the technology.
For personal use, is it best to store data on one external drive and as a back-up to the back-up on a DVD or two external hard drives the most?
There’s no perfect answer to this. A user can mix and match.
Some people still keep their old floppy disks or diskettes hoping they might still “see” data in it somehow. Are there ways to recover data from these and transfer to a DVD? How often do you encounter this?
We don’t encounter this issue. If ever, I think the service would involve ‘transferring’ the data from these media to a hard drive and to a DVD. The challenge is finding a computer with a good working floppy disk drive.
Floppy disks used to exist. What if we store information on CD’s, DVD’s, hard drives (valued photos & videos) and someday they too become obsolete?
This is the reality with technology but there would be new technology that are backward compatible. When this happens, transfer data to the latest gadget for backup storing.
What sets you apart from a typical computer repair shop that can do data recovery?
We specialize in data and have recovery tools and equipment specifically for this purpose. We have a Non-Disclosure Agreement with our clients before we proceed with any data recovery as we understand the sensitivity of the information that goes through our lab. If in case we could not recover the data, we offer a “No Recovery, No Fee.” policy. We also help formulate data protection policies for companies.
As for disposing hard drives? What do you recommend?
There are companies (especially multinational banks) that use disk wiping software that “permanently” erase the data from the hard drive. Some also use degaussing machines as an expensive alternative. To physically destroy the hard drive, there are companies in the US that offer to ‘steam-roll’ the drives.
I tell Christopher that info is too high tech for me – a non techie (I don’t even want to Google “disk wiping”…) so I ask him, “Can’t we just use a hammer and whack the hard drive?” He says, “Yes, you can also have a truck run over it…” (In case you didn’t know, deleting information from your computer is not enough as it doesn’t destroy data.) As for disposing CD’s or DVD’s with sensitive information, use scissors and cut them up (careful on sharp pieces) or use sand paper.
Fact of life: Hard drives do crash and it can happen in any Poof! time. Backing up information we keep is one simple thing we can do to make sure that what we need to access – can be accessed. I for one, opted to backup on two external hard drives kept separately. There are times to keep it quick, I just back up data that I find most valuable or most used or hardest to re-create.
Xyon Systems + Services
Mobile: 0917 881 8679
Tel: +632 411 8914