According to the book, Disaster Recovery Planning: Managing Risk and Catastrophe in Information Systems, written by Jon William Toigo, “A company that experiences a computer outage lasting for more than 10 days will never fully recover financially and that 50 percent of companies suffering such a predicament will be out of business within 5 years.”

Data loss is no joke; it has the potential to cripple your business, which is why all businesses and IT departments need a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. A big part of that plan is creating backups, but the unfortunate reality is that backups can fail too. Some disasters are capable of wiping out your data and your data backups too, but that doesn’t mean all is lost. The following outlines what can happen when a disaster takes out your backups, and what you can do to recover the lost data.

What To Do When Your Backup Data Is Destroyed

When Your Taped Backups Fail

Storage tapes are widely thought of as a safe way to backup data, and that holds true today. However, a natural disaster or even a plumbing disaster can prevent your business from accessing the critical data stored on the tapes. Perhaps a pipe bursts and saturates the tapes in cool water. Or the scaffolding fails and crushes the tapes. The advice here isn’t to forgo using tapes to store data, but rather to have a plan in place for tape data recovery, which means having the contact information for companies like Secure Data Recovery, that provide data recovery solutions for tape systems and cartridges.

Data tape recovery professionals understand exactly how tape formats work, such as LTO, DLT, and DDS. They are fully trained on tape formats and have advanced tools for database repair. The absolute worst thing you can do is attempt to recover this data yourself, as the compression technology is very volatile and you could permanently lose the data you’re attempting to recover. A professional engineer is needed to exercise extreme caution and carefully recover the data.

When Your Cloud Backup Fails

Every cloud provider is different. For example, Google and Microsoft move deleted files to a separate folder (a trash or recycle bin folder). Dropbox simply hides deleted files, so if you want to recover a Dropbox file that was unintentionally deleted, you would click the small trash icon in the right-hand corner and select “show deleted files.” From those folders you can recover accidentally deleted data, but keep in mind there are time restrictions on this; eventually, the cloud provider will permanently delete the data. In most cases, deleted files are kept for 30 days.

Data can be lost from the cloud. If the cloud provider suffers a disaster, all of your files may be permanently gone. This is why it’s important to backup on the cloud for speedy recovery, but also maintain a physical backup in the event the cloud goes down. If you can’t recover your data with another backup, you’ll want to contact a third-party company that specializes in cloud data recovery.

When Your Backup is Stolen

Unfortunately, hackers and other thieves aim to take advantages of data weaknesses. They want your customer’s financial information, identifying information, and your company’s secrets. The best way to stop a hacker from stealing critical data is to take preventative measures, but this isn’t always possible. Sometimes, companies don’t learn until it’s too late.

A thief can steal your backups – even your physical backups. Can you truly trust all of your employees? Chances are you can’t so keep your physical and non-physical backups secured behind locked doors and encryptions. Unfortunately, you may never recover a stolen hard drive unless that information can be found elsewhere. If the information was in another storage unit, it might be recoverable. Again, this is a time to speak with a data recovery specialist and see what your options are.

Generally speaking, all disaster recovery methods are best handled by a specialist who has experience working with the type of data and storage methods you’re using.