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Seasons Greetings & 2012 Trends

Kroll Ontrack Christmas ComicData encryption, virtualisation and BYOD were the biggest data recovery challenges in 2012

As businesses wind down for the holidays it’s a good time to reflect on the biggest data recovery challenges they faced in 2012. Engineers at Kroll Ontrack performed around 50,000 data recoveries during the year worldwide, but four of the fastest growing IT trends were associated with the some of the biggest data recovery challenges.

Encryption was one of the trends causing major headaches for data recovery, as more companies opted to encrypt data to enhance security and protect valuable company information – especially data moving into the cloud. Hardware-based encryption continued to grow in popularity because it enables faster processing speeds, but problems arose when users were unaware that the encryption functionality was active. Encryption adds an extra layer of protection but some users mistakenly thought their HDDs were only password protected and didn’t perform the necessary back up procedures that help recover encrypted information. This can lead to a much poorer data recovery since the important data cannot be targeted effectively if it’s encrypted. What is also particularly frustrating is these external HDDs are often bought to store people’s most valuable data, such as photos and music libraries, which makes the loss very personal.

Another challenge this year was the growing use of SSDs within laptops and desktop PCs. As SSDs become more affordable, a rising number of manufacturers are installing them in hardware. However, SSDs are a more complex storage technology than traditional hard drives. If data isn’t backed up properly and the drive fails it data recovery is harder and takes longer and is therefore more expensive to perform.

Virtualisation also led to data recovery challenges. An increasing number of small- to medium-sized businesses adopted virtual environments this year to leverage its well-documented benefits. However, some of them did so without fully considering the vulnerability it exposed data to, and were ill prepared to cope with disasters when things went wrong. Engineers at Kroll Ontrack saw a 10 per cent increase in user error, such as the deletion of virtual drives by mistake.

Beyond virtualisation and encryption, mobile devices also presented some data recovery challenges. Kroll Ontrack experienced an unprecedented number of mobile device recovery requests in 2012. Some of the recoveries were driven by the rise in popularity of the ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) trend in the workplace. Companies that adopted the programme without creating an appropriate security policy that outlines back-up requirements suffered the consequences when data was lost.

The technologies that brought so many benefits to companies this year also caused some of the biggest problems in data loss. The growing complexity of data recovery requests highlights the risk of following new trends without adopting an effective data backup or recovery plan. Hopefully any tough lessons learned this year will lead to more companies being better prepared to deal with data disasters in 2013. Here’s looking to a happy new year!

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