Users are being urged to check their data retrieval procedures after a survey revealed that many UK companies are losing valuable data because of complacency.
In a survey of 255 medium-sized UK companies (those employing between 200 and 500 staff), more than half (56%) admitted they had lost valuable data in the last 12 months.
The survey, conducted on behalf of disk drive maker Xyratex, looked at company policies and provisions for data retrieval in the event of loss.
Mark McCrimmon, field support manager at Xyratex, said: "Data is a company's most valuable asset. Often, sudden loss of mission-critical data can bring a company's operations to a standstill.
"The priority is regular backups," added McCrimmon. He also said that backup tapes themselves should be checked. "Companies should be diligent when it comes to managing backup. They should check to see that the backup was successful."
In one unfortunate incident, a company which backed-up on a daily basis was forced to hire 400 temporary data entry staff after a disk array system failed. It's IT manager had unwittingly formatted the disk array when it failed.
The survey also revealed ignorance of data retrieval methods, with 62% saying recovery was not feasible once a disk fails, and 38% believing it to be too expensive.
According to Xyratex, which charges #750 to recover 500Mb of data: "In most cases, the recovery cost is a fraction of both the value of the data lost and the cost of re-keying in available information."
Defective disk drives are the most likely cause of data loss, with 41% of respondents blaming them for their problems. Operator error, such as erasing files, occurred in 18% of cases. Virus attacks were responsible for just 14% of incidences.
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