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Top data disasters of 2011

By Contributor, Wed 14 Dec 2011
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Everyone knows the reasons for effective data backup, but sometimes we still don’t do it until we hear one horror story that resonates in some way.

Information management and data recovery providers Kroll Ontrack have posted their annual list of the 10 best (or worst) horror stories of the year, compiled by data recovery engineers from more than 30 Kroll Ontrack offices around the globe. The company was able to recover the data in a few cases – check out their website to see which ones.

10. Bad image

An actress deleted her entire portfolio, including her model card samples and recent pictures, by accidentally selecting the wrong externally attached USB drive using the MAC disk utility program.

9. Virtual reality

To increase system performance, an IT administrator split the C & D partition of his virtual server across two different systems. Running out of space, the admin needed to rush and consolidate C & D onto the same system. Not knowing that the same naming convention already existed on the target system, he copied over the important data set. 

8. Magnetic attraction 

A laptop was set down on a desk near some rare earth magnets. The earth magnets came into contact with the laptop and when the user went to turn on the machine, it did not boot up all the way and there was a clicking noise indicating severe damage. 

7. End of month disaster 

A corporate accounting department stayed late to reconcile the books for the month. While rejuvenating on a coffee break, a power outage occurred. All of the computers shut down including the financial server. The department’s computers were connected to a UPS; however, the continual brewing of their cups of coffee had drained the UPS battery, resulting in a crashed server. 

6. Sunken business deal 

Two businessmen met in a pub to discuss a future deal over a beer. The waitress accidentally knocked over one of the glasses she was delivering, soaking the laptop which contained the business plans. A paper towel was not enough to save the laptop and its important deal files. 

5. Smoking kills

A newly hired security guard was doing his first evening security check in a chemical ingredients warehouse. While he was informed that smoking was forbidden, he pondered who could possibly spot him enjoying a cigarette after company hours. After it was lit, the fire alarm sounded and prompted the anti-fire sprinkler system. All the electronic equipment, including 44 desktops and two servers, was flooded.

4. In the safe, not on the safe

To avoid arriving late to a business meeting, an IT person opted to put a tape drive on top of the waterproof safe instead of inside it. Within an hour of doing so, the city was struck by a powerful earthquake and the tape was knocked to the ground. Then, the premise was engulfed by mud, water and sand. 

3. A little piece of history

A freelance photographer happened to be with a camera in the midst of the recent London riots. Some rioters saw they were being filmed and opted to smash the camera in order to destroy the potentially incriminating evidence. 

2. Doggy eat dog world 

A man encouraged his girlfriend to back up her photo library, which contained thousands of high-resolution photos from her photo studio. She diligently moved the data from her laptop to an external hard drive, and unfortunately that became the only good copy. A friend then pulled into the driveway and the couple went out to meet her, but not before the hyper, happy family dog heard someone at the door and came tearing out from underneath the table where the drive is sitting. The drive went crashing to the floor, damaging the only good copy of this data. 

1. Triple whammy

When a lightning strike caused a fire that sent a famous Caribbean home up in smoke, the computer servers were burned and then doused with water by the fire squad. The media then corroded while the building sat idle until it was safe to re-enter. 

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