10 August 2010

Who is protecting your data this summer?

Surge in extreme UK summer weather results in higher instances of data loss and increase in data recovery request, reports Kroll Ontrack

Demand for data recovery services during the summer months continues to increase, according to Kroll Ontrack, the leading provider of data recovery, information management and legal technology products and services, and this year is no exception. Average global temperatures from January to June 2010 were the warmest on record since 1880, as reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). This warmer weather, in addition to summer storms and other major weather disasters, often leads to data loss incidents for businesses and consumers alike. In the UK, extreme weather conditions in the north and south this year have also set the stage for an increase in data loss incidents.

According to the Met Office, July was wetter than normal across most of the UK – except in the south east, which experienced unusually dry weather. In addition, with more key personnel on holiday during the summer months, the likelihood of data loss due to human error tends to grow as well. “While data loss can happen at any time, we have seen a distinct increase in demand for recovery services from second to third quarter, which coincides with the onset of the summer holiday season as well as volatile weather conditions,” said Phil Bridge, managing director, Kroll Ontrack UK. “This summer, we have already seen an uptick in the number of data recovery requests.”

Based on global data from 2007 to 2009, Ontrack Data Recovery engineers report that requests for data recovery services increase an average of 12 percent from second to third quarter, during the months of June, July and August, confirming the seasonal effect on data loss. In the UK, data recovery requests are expected to grow by 15 percent between Q2 and Q3 2010. In determining the causes of data incidents during the summer season, Robert Winter, chief engineer, Ontrack Data Recovery, Kroll Ontrack, says data loss can be attributed to a variety of factors. “Causes range from IT maintenance-related issues and gaps in IT processes, to floods and elevated temperatures, which can contribute to hard drive failures and data loss in general. Here in the UK, the use of air conditioning is also not as prevalent as in the US, making it more challenging to maintain a cool office environment,” said Winter. “Storms and floods are also significant causes of data loss. Over the past couple of months, we’ve seen an influx of these types of jobs in particular.”

Kroll Ontrack recently received multiple servers from a customer whose data center was affected by a local river flood. Water flooded the data center, destroying dozens of servers and hard drives. The disaster was compounded by the fact that the company hosted hundreds of virtual server machines, affecting the data of thousands of customers.

Fortunately, there are several simple steps that enterprise and home users can take to prevent this type of scenario, lessening the chances of a data loss related to extreme weather conditions in the summer.

1Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association; data as of July 15, 2010