Kroll Ontrack's Top 10 Data Disasters Averted in 2013

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2013-12-13 Print this article Print

Every December since 2004, Kroll Ontrack, a Minnesota-based provider of data recovery products and services, has compiled a list of its top 10 most unusual data disasters and subsequent recoveries. It's always a good read. Through its Ontrack Data Recovery products and services, Kroll Ontrack uses hundreds of proprietary tools and techniques to help businesses and consumers recover lost or corrupted data from all types of operating systems, devices and storage media. "Despite best efforts to prevent disasters, data loss still happens due to hardware failure, software corruption, computer viruses, natural disasters and, of course, human error," said Kroll Ontrack Vice President of Data Recovery Operations Todd Johnson. He supervises more than 200 engineers who develop IT and techniques that anticipate and address customer needs. For some noteworthy data protection and disaster recovery tips, visit this Kroll Ontrack page. To read about some of the more interesting and unique data-loss disasters, take a look at this eWEEK slide show.

  • Kroll Ontrack's Top 10 Data Disasters Averted in 2013

    By Chris Preimesberger
    Kroll Ontrack's Top 10 Data Disasters Averted in 2013
  • A Cell Phone Is Not Bullet-Proof (United States)

    Enough said. Full recovery, 10GB of data total.
    A Cell Phone Is Not Bullet-Proof (United States)
  • Spiders! (Italy)

    Kroll Ontrack was called to work on a 5-year-old server that had a hard drive that had crashed. When the data recovery engineer opened up the drive, he found a nest and spiders inside. The spiders also had made a vacation home in the drive of the server right next to the parking area of the heads. One hundred percent of the data was recovered.
    Spiders! (Italy)
  • Natural Disasters (United States)

    Unfortunately, some of the biggest data disasters stem from natural disasters. When an office-space design company learned about looming Hurricane Sandy, it sprang into action and made a backup of all of its servers. However, it couldn't have predicted that the river half a mile from its office would have flooded to the extent it did, leaving all of its servers and backup tapes submerged in 28 inches of water. Kroll Ontrack was able to recover 100 percent of the company's data, which said that without the data recovery, it would have had to rebuild its business from scratch.
    Natural Disasters (United States)
  • Sabotage (United Kingdom)

    Kroll Ontrack received a package of hard drive pieces. When Ontrack Data Recovery engineers called the company to find out what had happened, the company explained that the drive had been hit repeatedly with a hammer. The company insisted Kroll Ontrack try to recover the drive data. One file was recovered. What the company learned from that one file was that an employee had tried to wipe a file and destroy evidence. The one file recovered was enough to prosecute the employee.
    Sabotage (United Kingdom)
  • Use Caution While Under the Influence (United States)

    After a night of partying, a man woke up in the middle of the night and used what he thought to be a restroom. In the morning, he discovered that it was not a restroom, and that his laptop was a poor substitute for a toilet. Kroll Ontrack was able to recover 100 percent of the data.
    Use Caution While Under the Influence (United States)
  • Foiled Robbery (Italy)

    A thief took a laptop along with other items from a home, but must have gotten scared during the robbery. While fleeing, the thief abandoned the laptop in the garden. The owner found the laptop, but not until after it had been out in the rain all night. Kroll Ontrack was able to recover the data from the SSD inside.
    Foiled Robbery (Italy)
  • Gamer's Rage (France)

    One day, the mother of three children tried to start the family computer without success. Error message. She asked the children if something strange had happened as they were the last to use it. No answer. She suspected something suspicious and asked again. The oldest sibling said her brother was so angry over losing a video game that he slammed his fists on the keyboard. All the data eventually was recovered.
    Gamer's Rage (France)
  • Data Gone Wild (United Kingdom)

    A university student called, looking for emergency service on her laptop. She had lost her year-end term paper and needed it back to pass her class. When the Ontrack Data Recovery engineers asked what happened to the laptop, she explained that the year-end party from the night before was the culprit. Her laptop was found drowning in spilled drinks. The paper was recovered.
    Data Gone Wild (United Kingdom)
  • Movie Mayhem (Poland)

    While producing a movie for a film festival, a team of filmmakers encountered an on-set disaster. They were backing up their laptop to an external drive during production one day when one of the crew members accidentally kicked the table over. Both the laptop and external drive crashed to the floor, making the data inaccessible. Eighteen months of production and investments gone with only two months left until the festival. Kroll Ontrack was able to recover more than 80 percent of the data, enabling the filmmakers to make the festival's deadline. Kroll Ontrack is listed in the credits as their technology partner.
    Movie Mayhem (Poland)
  • Long Journey, Broken Drive (Hong Kong)

    A world cyclist and photographer arrived in Hong Kong in May 2013 only to discover that the hard drive with two years of photos and video of his 40,000-km cycle fundraiser around the world was broken. The Hong Kong team quickly got to work on this case, but it proved to be a very challenging recovery because the drive had major media damage in multiple locations on multiple surfaces. Trying every imaginable recovery technique possible, the Ontrack Data Recovery engineers were able to recover most of the images.
    Long Journey, Broken Drive (Hong Kong)
Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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