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It’s true, there are firms out there with no firm data backup plan. Of course they never plan for their server to go down but with IT you have to expect the unexpected. Here’s some history. This client had a 12 year old server and at some point purchased an external usb drive for backups. The drive must have died at some point because by the time we came onsite the drive was totally unresponsive. Point 1 – If you backup to a usb drive, make sure you or your IT check the backups every day for success.

So we came onsite to check the issue. The original problem was that PCLaw was no longer working. when we came onsite, we saw that the server would not boot to Windows. Since the server was 12 years old we figured it dead and there was most definitely no warranty coverage at 12 years. Most server manufacturers only cover hardware for a maximum of 5 to 7 years. After that you pay by the incident. Point 2 – Make sure that every server has full warranty coverage in case of downtime or hardware emergency.

Since the server was dead and we needed to recover PCLaw data, we figured we would physically remove the hard drives from the server and try to do a restore using recovery software. We successfully removed the drives only to find that both drives were dead, they wouldn’t even power up. This situation was going from bad to worse. This problem was totally avoidable and now data recovery services would have to be called in to recover the PCLaw database from the dead hard drives. Point 3 – If you make a server investment, you must make the additional investment to have IT monitor it. It’s simply another form of downtime insurance and it IS necessary.

From digging through piles of old PC’s we were able to find a PCLaw backup from a month prior and restore the database. I won’t even ask why a backup of the server was located on a 10 year old PC that was in a garbage pile waiting for sanitation pickup. By this time I had just gotten off the phone with data recovery services which wanted $100 for an evaluation which would take 7 business days. Then once the evaluation was done, the recovery price was anywhere between $800 and $4,000, thank god we found the data. Point 4 – It is always more expensive to fix broken or mismanaged technology than to set it up right the first time.

In the end we were able to restore the data that we stumbled upon and the client lost a months worth of billing. When we were done, we explained to the client the importance of backing up and how this could have all been avoided. Keep in mind that since we have nothing to go on, we spend 8hrs of labor tryingt o find and/or recover data from 10 different computers that may or may not have had data on them. After our backup talk the client said they had it covered with a USB drive. Keep in mind that the clietn had a broken USB drive attached to the dead server. I explained that this was not the right solution, secure offsite backup will guarantee his data will be available not matter what. In the end, he chose the cheap USB route and learned absolutely nothing from this whole experience. Point 5 – Take your firm’s IT seriously, reliable IT is not cheap. At the end of the day try to remember why there are IT specialists out there. We’re here to save your firm money and headache, not drain your profits.

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