Packet One - Data Loss and Backup Solutions

Taking a look at the causes of data loss, and implementing solutions

Far too often, computer users assume that they are immune to data loss. For those who do consider it a possibility, far too few take the effort to put a backup plan into action. In this article, we want to share the facts and realities of data loss, as well as offer up some easy to implement solutions.


  • 25% of all PC users suffer from data loss each year. (1)
  • 70% of small firms that experience a major data loss go out of business within a year (5)
  • 15% of all laptops are stolen or suffer hard drive failures (1)
  • $12 Billion annual cost of data loss
  • 96% of all business workstations are not being backed up (3)
  • $55 Billion in annual computer virus damages to U.S. businesses (4)
  • 100% - the failure rate of disks and tape drives all drives eventually fail
Gartner Group; (2) IDC; (3) Contingency Planning & Strategic Research Corp.; (4) TrendMicro; (5) DTI/PriceWaterhouse Coopers, 2004


Virus – Even when taking precautions and installing anti-virus software, there is no assurance that your computer is safe. In fact, almost all of the computers that we remove viruses from were implementing some type of protection. While many times virus protection can remove the virus after the computer is infected, a large majority is eventually removed through the complete wiping of the hard drive.

Hard drive failure – All hard drives fail, it’s really just a matter of when. Physical failure is when there is a mechanical problem with the drive that makes it inoperable. When this happens, the hard drive must be replaced. Some causes of physical failure include age, or an impact of some sort. Some signs of a failing disk include clicking and grinding noises, or unusual slowness of computer tasks. You may never get any warning signs, and failure can happen suddenly.

Software corruption – For different reasons, sometimes a file can become corrupt. This may render the file useless.

Human error – Sometimes a user just makes a mistake and deletes a file that they need. Perhaps they thought it just wasn’t needed anymore, or maybe it was in the wrong folder.

Natural disaster – It’s extreme, but it does happen. Having a copy of your most important data offsite can save your company in this scenario.


Software recovery – If you’re lucky enough to be able to recover your data through software means, you can get away with spending about $150 to recover your data. *

Hardware recovery – If there is a physical problem that cannot be addressed through software recovery, you can expect to pay up to $1,500.*

*Price estimates are from Datavision in NYC


Shadow copy backups – We configure clients to have what are called shadow copies of the files on their file server. It takes a snapshot of the files every 3 hours, and you can recall these versions if a file goes missing or corrupt.

Tape backup – A physical tape backup requires someone to place a tape in the drive run a backup. This is good for businesses with large amounts of data to backup.

Hard Drive backup – Keeping an additional hard drive for backup is a great and easy way to back up your servers. Along with a hard drive, you’ll need software that runs the backup, which can be set to run overnight when it is not in use.

Online backup – Online services exist that can automatically back up all documents, as well as exchange mailboxes. When looking at these services you’ll want to use the professional business versions, as they will provide more options for business including server support, exchange support, and 24 hour phone support if needed.

Off-Site Disaster Recovery – Disaster recovery is an exact duplicate of your server in an alternate location. This gives your company the ability to operate as if you are working of your office’s server in the event that something happens to the server that causes temporary or permanent downtime. This option is costly, but leaves you prepared for even the worst disasters. Packet One has a facility in Michigan to facilitate this service when needed.

RAID systems – These are configurations of the hard drives in your server. There are different arrangements that can do things like provide an exact mirror of a hard drive in real time. In the event a hard drive fails, you can move over to the mirrored drive and continue as if nothing happened. These features are a basic part of all servers, and there’s a good chance you are already using one of these techniques.


These solutions are for the individual, where it’s documents that are stored locally on your office computer (stored right on the computer, as opposed to the servers shared drive), or your computer at home.

Thumb drive – You can pick up a 4GB thumb drive at staples for $10. This is more than enough storage to handle a hard drive full of documents, and smaller media files. If you’ve got a lot of hi-resolution images, audio files, or video files, you may need a larger thumb drive, or can look at portable USB drives.

Portable USB Drive – A portable hard drive, like the western digital passport is perfect if you’re looking to backup a large amount of data. You can pick up a 320GB passport drive for $99, which is more than enough space for almost anyone but the heaviest data users. Larger drives are available for a little more money if you really need the space.

Online backup – There are quite a few online storage solutions out there, ranging from free to a small monthly fee. This solution is great when dealing mostly with smaller documents, because it relies on the speed of your internet connection. These solutions also offer the benefit of being able to access your files from other locations if needed.

( – Offers free backup of your files for up to 2GB. Unlimited backup will only cost you $4.95 a month. Note that this is for basic desktop backup, and does not offer business server features like exchange, and network drive support.

( -Also offers free backup for up to 2GB, and offer up to 150GB for $4.95 per month (or $49.50 annualy)

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