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Data security tops the list for data recovery hot topics from 2014 [video]

Looking back on 2014, the trends that impacted the data recovery industry throughout the year were very clear. We received quite a lot of feedback from our engineers about these trends and how they will become prevalent for businesses and individuals in 2015.

Data security, business continuity and mobile devices were among the biggest trends impacting the data recovery industry in 2014. The most talked about trend however was how data recovery companies could help corporations protect their data from theft.  With front-page headlines on a weekly basis, data breaches were a constant hot topic that affected both businesses and individuals.

How did cyber security breaches affect data loss and data recovery in 2014?

Numerous corporations were put under the spotlight throughout 2014 as the focus on data security became an issue that affected millions of people around the world. This affected the retail, financial, healthcare and entertainment industries and even government institutions.

With a heightened focus on data security practices, the number of corporations requiring on-site support to ensure data didn’t leave their organisation’s doubled from 2013 to 2014. We also saw hundreds of highly regulated healthcare, government and educational institutions needing Ontrack® Remote Data Recovery™ (RDR®) software, a proprietary service that maximises data security because the data recovery can also be performed without a hard disk or other storage device leaving an enterprise’s data centre for high-end server or cloud recoveries.

Viruses on individuals systems, such as CryptoLocker, as well as large-scale cyber security viruses, such as the wiper malware attack on Sony, demonstrate the critical need for individuals and businesses to secure their data for the future as no one is being left out of the target range.

Where do encryption and erasure come into data security?

Since security was such a hot topic in 2014, organisations took the initiative to affirm their encryption and data erasure protocols to meet stringent regulations and provide their customers with peace of mind. For both encryption and end-of-life drives, this process entailed analysing the media and performing a series of tests to certify that data cannot be recovered if a storage device was to be retired, repurposed or if it fell into the wrong hands.

The topic of data protection and data destruction will become more prevalent in 2015 as regulations are tightened up in the European Union with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation. Although some organisations are aware of the GDPR and they have started to plan and implement the necessary changes already, a survey conducted by Kroll Ontrack showed that 81 per cent of IT managers were unaware of the regulation, showing that there is a need to educate the IT industry on how the upcoming legislation is going to affect them and how they should prepare for it.

How are OEMs helping to prepare for business continuity?

Business continuity became a high priority for data storage manufacturers in 2014. Our research and development team joined forces with some of them, namely SanDisk, who we worked with to create a 75 per cent reduction in the amount of time needed to determine the most common drive failures, which results in a speedier data recovery and reduces business downtime.

Planning for disaster goes hand-in-hand with planning for cyber breaches. The importance of educating the workforce on best practices to both avoid and prepare for data loss and data breaches is quickly becoming high priority for most businesses. After all, failing to plan is planning to fail.

How did data recovery from software defined storage develop?

The research and development team at Kroll Ontrack had quite a number of opportunities in 2014 to discover more about data recovery from software defined storage as we saw an increase in failures throughout the year. Although these storage mediums are implemented for their “fail-proof” qualities, we were often contacted to recover data in cases where a current backup did not exist.

We were able to develop new methods of data recovery through researching and rebuilding the software defined storage maps and, therefore we could restore the data to the point in time when the failure occurred.

In any cases such as these, we always recommend having a backup and/or snapshot and to carry out testing on their functionality. In order to prepare for a quick turnaround when the worst happens, businesses should consider a partnering with a reputable data recovery company before disaster happens. This can help them speed up the recovery time and help get to get the business running again as quick as possible.

How did the mobile revolution affect us in 2014?

From 2013 to 2014, we saw significant increases in recovery requests for mobile phones, tablets, flash and SSD devices. This is not surprising considering the global exponential growth in mobile device usage. It appears that mobile devices are here to stay and our dependence on them is still growing for a variety of reasons. While small, newer mobile storage devices are more powerful and contain data of great importance to both consumers and corporations. So, recovering data from mobile devices has become a business need, even in cases where business continuity depends on the data recovered.

Throughout the year, the research and development team at Kroll Ontrack improved the methods and abilities to recover more data from newer devices. For instance, our engineers developed the unique ability to repair the operating system and then access the data for all Apple mobile devices, including the iPhone 5S and iPad Air, which are hardware encrypted. This newly developed method changed the mobile recovery game, increasing the success rate of mobile device recovery for Apple customers by 60 per cent.

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  • adam williams

    I think one major problem for companies was no procedures or “prevention” warnings given to companies on a soon to fail system. Having a system in place to monitor the full network infrastructure that gives IT Support real live data on system crashes, hard drive warnings etc. This could then prevent systems/hard drives failing leading to data loss.

    • Laura Mellon

      I would have to agree with you there, Adam. Disaster recovery planning has become a must for IT departments, not only to have solutions prepared to fix the problem, but also to train employees about protocols so that they follow a set procedure which doesn’t result in more problems. It also means that the problem is addressed within IT departments of the same company, in the same manner whether it needs to be fixed in one part of the world or another.

      With the computer failure at Swanwick air traffic control centre last week, we also saw the wide-reaching effect that a computer system failure can have when there are no “prevention” warnings in place to prepare IT staff for potential downtime. In this case, the airspace over London was closed and flights for the rest of Europe were running at a slowed pace. Given that such a small technical failure can have such an international and even global effect, there’s no such thing as being “too prepared”.