All organizations need to be prepared for potential business interruptions. They need to have fall back plans in case of disaster and system failures. The integrity of a company’s data systems is paramount to minimizing the cost incurred from business interruptions.

Threat Response Matrix

Does your business plan have a “Threat Response Matrix”? In its simplest form, list the different “worst case” scenarios for your business. You need to be pragmatic and explore the potential horrors that could unfold and beseech your company. Questions and scenarios like:

  • What will we lose if there is a fire, flood, storm damage or break-in?
    • How will we restore operations and data as fast as possible?
  • What will we need to do if power goes out for more than 4 hours?
    • How will we respond to inbound phone calls and how will we continue outbound communication?
  • If our main internet connection is down, how will we divert to a fallback connection?
  • What will we need to do if a vital computer and/or hard drive no longer works?
  • What will we do if our websites or internal networks get hacked or customer data stolen?
    • What safeguards can we put in place to not just be PCI compliant, but be even more stringent with our sensitive data?

After you list your potential threats, you need to rank these business operational threats by how likely they will occur. From the above list of potential threats, I have experienced them all, but the one that occurred most unexpectedly and more frequently than any other was hard drive failure.

Hard drives are the weakest link

The most common cause of partial or total business interruption is hard drive failure.

Hard drives can fail at anytime and seemingly for no reason, they can intentionally get corrupt by certain viruses as well. It doesn’t take physical damage from an obvious event, like someone dropping a hard drive or laptop — a minor power surge while writing files to your drive can render your drive inoperable.

Let’s face it, whether your company uses Microsoft Windows, Macs, Linux, or Unix, the one thing they all have in common is that they are dependent on hard drives to store data.  Desktops, laptops, web servers are all susceptible to suddenly freezing up.

Whether you plan on saving money yourself and getting your IT department trained up or you would rather scale your resources externally and align your company with a competent data recovery business with a proven track record of reliability and success, it is imperative to be prepared BEFORE disaster strikes your business.

My worst hard drive nightmare

Back in 2005, my ad agency was working on producing a television infomercial with a tight deadline. You know, the kind of deadline you’re up until 2pm capturing video footage and not taking necessary precautions like making routine backups of your work – after all, high def video back then took up a lot of space. We had digitized over 30 hours of footage, assembled the video files and they were linked to our Avid video editing software. Back in those days, high def video wasn’t on small SDHC cards it fits so conveniently on now, we shot video to tapes then had to digitize the tapes and capture the video in real time.  So an hour of video footage took at least an hour to capture to a hard drive.

Two of our five 1TB external firewire drives failed to connect to our video editing computers. The worst part is that we were almost finished with the production job, we were at the “finishing touches” phase and we didn’t back up the project and footage somewhere else.  The client was scheduled to come into the studio for a review later that day and here we were, unable to even connect and access the files!

Instead of us putting our time and energy into finishing the production, we were scrambling and trying to figure out how to recover and access the project we had put in over 100 hours working on.

Hard Drive Rescue Under $100

Needless to say, we scoured the web and downloaded four different disk recovery programs online before we found one that worked. Some of the free versions allowed you to install their program and it would indeed scan your hard drive but you would be limited to restoring a certain amount of files. This limitation would be lifted once you purchased the license, which ranged anywhere from $50 to about $300 back then.

At the time, we were just desperate to access the files.  In this situation, disk recovery software saved us over 50 hours of redoing video production and editing work we would have had to do over.

Your business plan needs to include recoveries from catastrophes, natural and technological.

This is just one example of many scenarios hundreds of businesses across the world probably face every day.

ReclaiMe Data Recovery Software

One such data recovery solution is from ReclaiMe.  What really sets ReclaiMe apart is their free knowledgebase and training.

Though the ReclaiMe training courses are mostly for computer repair specialists or data recovery technicians, many companies rely on their internal IT departments to set up and take care of their own computers and hardware.  ReclaiMe’s Data Recovery Training website is a free comprehensive resource for a variety of systems, NAS, RAID, and partitions that provide valuable insights and techniques about how to restore critical data.

Being prepared and understanding more about the data recovery process is insurance for your company that will make sure when a hard drive fails, you will know the best courses of action to take to save time and money.

To read more about the review of ReclaiMe’s free online tutorials, click here.

I recently reviewed ReclaiMe’s free Data Recovery Tutorials and was really impressed at how much free information regarding procedures and steps a company can take to restore, or should I say reclaim their critical data that was lost on a failed hard drive.  Read the entire review here.

It happened to a me a few times where I’ve seen $50,000 worth of production and editing work on videos and 3D animations go up in dust.  Thankfully, each time I managed to find a way to recover the projects with minimal loss — except perhaps of time and the remaining hair on my head.

Please click here to read the latest review of ReclaiMe’s disk and data recovery tutorials.  I’d recommend visiting their website at and know where to find the software in case you suddenly lose your hard drive!