Data loss is one of computing’s most misunderstood concepts. A user is suddenly unable to access a file and is suspended in a state of confusion and panic, wondering, Where did my data go, and how do I get it back? What caused the data loss? What could I have done to prevent it?
This confusion is not surprising. Very little information has been made public about data loss, and the information that does exist is inconsistent. Due to the mixed messages they receive, users find it difficult to properly evaluate their data loss situations and make educated decisions to recover from them.
Confusion arises because the industry often presents “lost data” as data that has been permanently destroyed, with no hope for recovery. In reality, approximately 75% of lost data can be retrieved. While data may be inaccessible to users, experts have the ability to recover it using the proper techniques and tools. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of gigabytes (GB) of data have been lost simply because users were not aware of their options and gave up hope of recovery.
Each data loss situation is unique and causes are often interrelated. For example, a lightning strike may cause a hard drive to suffer electrical failure. If the user is not aware that lightning struck the building, they will be unable to report this to the engineer. They will simply be able to communicate that they are unable to access their data. Except in the most severe cases, an engineering diagnosis will not show that lightning struck the drive. Rather, the cause will be recorded as a drive failure, a hardware malfunction. The root cause may never be known.
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