Data Loss Disasters – What You Need to Know |

If you have a computer, you’ve probably been here at one time or another. Your hard drive fails, taking it with it all of your most important data! It’s a nightmare that keeps many people who entrust their most important data to their computers up at night, especially those who haven’t been prudent enough to back up their data on a regular basis. There are many reasons why your drive could fail without warning, causing a data loss disaster, but many of these catastrophes are preventable.Most failures can be grouped into two main categories: physical damage and logical corruption. Physical damage is injury to any of the hardware components of the drive, and logical corruption refers to the failure of the software associated with your drive. Here are the most common causes of data loss and what, if anything, you can do about them.Physical damage There are several types of physical damage that can occur, including:
Moisture contact. Excessive humidity can permanently damage your hard drive. The best defence is to keep your computer in a cool, dry room – away from any heating or air conditioning vents. A dehumidifier can be a worthwhile investment if your computer room tends to be damp.
Exposure to extreme heat or cold. This can cause the components of your drive to expand or contract due to the extreme temperatures and damage them.
Physical impact. Your drive is relatively sturdy, but is not meant to withstand the significant impact that comes with being dropped or hit. The impact can damage the internal components of the drive, causing your data to become irretrievable.
Defective components. There’s not much you can do about this one. If you suspect that your hard drive is defective in some way, take it to a data recovery specialist for evaluation. Identifying faulty components before the drive fails could save your data.
Power Surges. Make sure you have proper surge protection in place to protect your computer and hard drive.
Degrading read/write heads. Unfortunately, hard drives don’t last forever and components can wear out with time and usage. Over time the read/write heads can degrade to the point where they will no longer function properly. When this happens, it’s time to get a new hard drive.Logical CorruptionHere are the most common logical corruption problems that you could experience:
Formatting problems. Formatting your hard drive erases the data that was previously stored. If you don’t backup your files, or if the drive is incorrectly formatted, you can lose your data.
Files accidentally deleted. In many cases, these files will be recoverable with the help of a professional technician or data recovery software.
Computer viruses. Computer viruses can cause all sorts of problems. Make sure you have the latest anti-virus software installed and update it regularly to protect yourself as well as you possibly can. In addition, be careful about which sites you download information from and be careful about opening unsolicited emails.
Damaged or corrupted RAID array configuration. RAID is an acronym for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. RAID arrays are used to store large amounts of data and provide backup in case one or more disks fail. If there is a configuration problem with your RAID array, it can lead to logical failures on your drive. A specialized data recovery firm can help you to correct the problem and retrieve your data.
Firmware corruption. Firmware is the embedded code that controls the hard drive functions. A corruption of the firmware can lead to the hard drive not being recognized in BIOS and the system being unable to communicate with your hard drive. Fortunately the likelihood of recovering your data is very high with this type of problem, providing you can fix the original problem.If you’re unlucky enough to be in the position of having to recover your data after a crash, the best advice we can give is to get your computer to a professional data recovery specialist. The more you use a hard drive after it has been corrupted, the more likely it is that your data will be overwritten and you will be unable to recover your precious information.Data recovery can be seen as expensive, but it is unlikely that you will be able to repair most hard drive problems yourself and recover your data. The truth of the matter is that it’s more likely that your attempts will make things worse. The more important your data is, the more reason to go with a professional.

Prevent Data Loss From Laptops With the Right Backup Strategy |

Loss of data can have severe implications to individuals as well as businesses. Almost all or majority of the information related to business plans, data base, client list, presentations and graphics are stored in laptops. This is convenient to businesses as they can have all the information at their finger tips all the time. Unlike large business small business and SOHO users have very limited back up plan and support systems when faced with a data loss situation. Added to this is the fact that data loss can happen any time and due to many reasons. Some of the common reasons for loss of data from a laptop include· human errors such as accidental deletion of data, partitions or drives· reformatting of the drive, partitions· hard drive failure· corruption of the system files and· virus attackData loss in spite of backupIn spite of having a backup you end up losing data. Though the situation is ironic, this does happen. Some of the scenarios of such data loss are formatting and reinstalling the operating system after ensuring backup or deleting information after taking backup. In such scenarios, the data loss is due to non functional backup. A backup can become dysfunctional if· the backup gets corrupted due to virus· the backup gets damaged due to scratches (if it is in a CD or memory stick)· incorrect backup practices- pulling the cable or memory stick out before the data is completely transferred, incorrect burning to a CD etc or· the backup is not compatible with the operating systemA dysfunctional back up due to any of these reasons means that you are left with no data. The only option that you have is to recover the lost data with the help of file recovery software. There are many data recovery software available in the market that can recover lost data. You need to select the software based on· your data recovery requirement- types of file extensions you need to recover· efficiency of the software in recovering lost data from formatted drives and partitions, or after reinstalling the operating system and· features available in the software- like file scanning technologies, preview of recovered files, search options etc that can recover lost dataRecovering data is more reactive or diagnostic in nature. The ideal way to deal is to be proactive in storing data safely so that even if you lose data, the impact will be minimal. One of the best ways to go about this is by ensuring a back up strategy.Backup strategy to deal with data loss Using backup tool- There are many backup tools that can help you with data backup. This will ensure periodic backup of your dataEnsuring safe storage- You can either store the back up in removable storage devices like CD, memory sticks, or with companies that manage backup. There are many online storage options as well. You can explore the various options and select the one that is most appropriate.Ensuring back up of all data- Many a times you will backup only the data you work on. Make sure that you have periodic back up of e-mail communications (especially if you use Outlook Express or Outlook), your browser, bookmarks, favorite folders, audio and video files, if it is very important to you.Thus having a backup strategy will ensure that you have all the required information, and that too stored in an accessible manner and in a functional device that you can rely in case of data loss.

Data Profiling – Cross-Database Validation |

With a collection of quick and simple checks, Data Profiling provides you with a much better understanding of your data. You can quickly find issues before engaging on any data project; issues which will cost you much more to put right later in the project life-cycle.In this article we’re going to focus on perhaps one of the more advances aspects of Data Profiling; cross-database checks and validation. Unfortunately, many tools do not support cross-database analysis and you will often need to load all the relevant sources in to the same database or repository to perform such checks.But even given this extra step, cross-database validation is a very worthwhile exercise, and will payback handsomely on any data initiative:* Data integration projects will by their very nature require the analysis and comparison of multiple data sources.* On any data migration project you will want to validate both the source and loaded datasets.* Even with a “single” database project you will find that that are usually various authoritative data sources strewn across the business (often in the shape of Excel spreadsheets and personal datasets) which need to be cross-checked with the target database.To cope with all this you will want to perform a number of cross-database checks. In effect you’ll be data profiling several sources and comparing their resulting profiles. Specifically, you should consider:* Comparison of codes used in the various systems. If not identical, is there an appropriate mapping between the codes?* If there are many codes, perhaps Social Security Numbers, then compare their patterns/formats.* If entities are expected in more than one system, then you can check keys in both systems to check for duplicate or missing entries. And of course, if you’re expecting the data in the systems to be unique, you should still check for, and investigate, any duplicates.Cross-database validation is not trivial, but it’s not that hard either. The checks are easy to understand and communicate and any issues found are generally significant. It is therefore something which you should always undertake as part of any Data Profiling exercise.