In today’s world, data is all around us. We live in a society that is increasingly driven by data. Our individual lives are themselves increasingly shaped by data. Every service we use (e.g. facebook, twitter, apps on our phone), every action we take, it often seems like everything we do generates more data about us.
Clearly data is important, valuable, and powerful. But of course, the average user is not concerned with the intricacies of data collection and analyses. For most people, their data concerns are backing up important personal and work-related files. Family photos no longer exist as physical prints, but just as a print could be lost or damaged, so can a digital file. With a digital file you don’t have a negative to fall back on. However, the good news is that unless you take steps to overwrite a deleted file permanently, it is usually recoverable.
Remember the following do’s and don’ts and you will find that you rarely ever lose your data forever.
Ok, we know you’ve heard this a billion times before. Virtually everyone understands backups and how they work these days so we won’t go into that here, but if you need some guidance then check out this guide.
There is a reason that you have heard this advice a billion times before, and that is because it is the golden rule of data protection. If you have a backup on another physical device or remote service, then the odds of losing both are very small. Creating multiple backups is trivially easy and cheap.
DON’T Overwrite Data
When you delete a file on your computer, your computer will not actually delete the file. Instead, it marks that space on the hard drive where that file is stored as being free. This means that, until data is overwritten, it is still there and is easy to recover. If you accidentally delete a file and want to recover it then, unless you are confident in your ability to do it yourself, you should keep your PC off until you can get it to a professional data recovery service such as Secure Data Recovery.
Note that iPhones work differently as when you delete a file on an iPhone, and some Android phones, the phone also overwrites the file with a bunch of random data (1’s and 0’s). Conversely, if you want to secure delete files then do overwrite them. You can find free software to securely erase your data beyond recovery.
DO the Right Thing
Second hand electronics are common. For many people, the ability to purchase second hand, or to inherit devices from friends and family, has given them access to technology that would otherwise be beyond their means.
The average person does not securely erase their hard drives before turning their devices over. Only a handful of devices will do this for them so in most cases that data is still there to be read. You might be curious what’s left over on a second-hand device or hard drive but it’s probably best to treat the data like you would want your data treated. Format it, or reset it back to factory settings (in case of a mobile phone).
It is a good thing that data recovery is so affordable and accessible these days. From NAS Drive enclosures, to RAID set ups, it’s pretty easy to make your own back up drive or redundant system to keep your data safe. Plus the fact that cloud service like Google, Amazon and iCloud, have made it as simple as possible to back up videos, music, and pictures automatically. Data is rarely ever truly lost these days, but it’s never too late to invest in an external hard drive or pay for a subscription to one of the cloud based systems to back up and keep your data safe.
Do you back up your data? What is your favorite way to ensure your important stuff doesn’t get lost?