The Always Present Risk of Data Loss: A True Story

In Case Studies by joseph gilbertLeave a Comment

Following is the true story that highlights the risk of data loss. In the last few decades, technology has made impressive strides. The computing power that had once required entire rooms dedicated to processors now can be done with hardware small enough to fit in your pocket. Despite those improvements, however, the risk of data loss continues to plague us. We all hear horror stories, but too often we assume it will happen to someone else. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Nathan believed until he became that someone else.

Nathan, whose name has been changed to protect his privacy, spent a lot of time on his Macbook Pro. Like most of us, he filled the hard drive with his life: work presentations, personal family photos of his kids and vacations, music he loved, programs he enjoyed using, even the multitude of passwords he needed to access his online life. The laptop worked fine for awhile, and he took for granted that it would continue to work well until he was ready to buy a new one. That’s exactly the same attitude most of us have about the electronic equipment we use on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, Nathan was wrong about his Macbook Pro. The optical drive began having problems. While the drive wasn’t something he used frequently, he was concerned that whatever was going wrong might end up affecting the rest of the laptop so he took it in for repairs. He asked the repair person if the work on the optical drive might put him at risk of data loss on the system’s hard drive. The repair person assured him that he would not lose any data and the Macbook Pro would be returned to him with all of his files, photos, and entertainment still safely stored on the hard drive.

So Nathan left his laptop for repairs. He came back a week later to pick it up. Thankfully, the optical drive was again performing correctly. The bad news was his hard drive had been wiped clean. Hundreds of files: irreplaceable photos, important documents and presentations for his job, music files and programs he paid good money for . . . everything was gone. When he complained to the repair person, he got nowhere. They could not get everything back for him. Instead, the manager explained repairs always carry the risk of data loss even if the hard drive itself is not the problem.

From the experience, Nathan learned a valuable lesson: that the risk of data loss is always present. No matter how long our equipment functions flawlessly or how much trust we put in repair personnel the possibility of losing all of our data never goes away. As a result, Nathan became more proactive in protecting his data. He didn’t put all of his faith in his laptop’s drive. Instead, he started performing regular data back-ups so, in the event, of a system or hard drive failure he has the data protected elsewhere where it can easily be retrieved. Of course, these actions will never bring back all of the data Nathan lost during the repair, but it will help him and, hopefully, others remember the risk of data loss and prevent future occurrences.