An SMB’s guide to data recovery: How to recover lost data

Research shows that 140,000 hard drives fail each week in the US — and 58% of SMBs are not prepared for data loss.

When you’re not expecting to lose files, it’s easy to panic — and in the competitive Florida marketplace, you can’t afford to suffer too much downtime.

Luckily, there’s usually a way to recover your data; however, the method you choose will depend on the type and degree of data loss you’ve suffered. Keep reading to find out which method is right for your situation.

Check your deleted files

Not all data loss is the result of a catastrophe like a complete hard drive failure or natural disaster.

Sometimes, you’ve just hit ‘delete’ on an important file by accident. When this happens, the first thing you should do is check the recycle bin or trash. Locate the file you lost, and move it back to where it belongs.

This method is easy, cheap and effective and always worth considering before moving on to more expensive solutions. However, it won’t work in the case of damaged equipment or failed hard drives.

Related Content: Your 5-part guide to everyday data disasters

Use disk recovery software

When you delete or lose a file and it doesn’t show up in your trash, it’s time to look into disk recovery.

The moment you realize that you’ve lost data or suspect that your hard drive is failing, stop using it. Deleted data is often still ‘hidden’ in the files of your computer until it’s overwritten, and specialist software can help you recover it.

Disk recovery programs work by scanning your hard drive and then allowing you to search for lost files using parameters like file type and location. The software will then show you all the files found, along with a rating that tells you how likely a successful recovery is.

Disk recovery software is somewhat user-friendly, and there are free options available. However, if you’re not an experienced IT professional you might find the process confusing, limiting your chances of successful data recovery. In this case, it’s best to seek professional IT support.

Case Study: Multi-site, Florida-based company faces a major data disaster

Restore data from a backup

If you’ve checked your deleted files and attempted disk recovery but still can’t locate your missing data, it’s time to turn to your backup.

Ideally, you’re creating regular backups of all your data, either using an external hard drive or a cloud solution. Restoring your data should be as simple as going into your backup and locating the files you’re missing.

Restoring files this way is ideal if you’ve been consistent in creating backups. If you’ve been more sporadic, you might find that you’re only able to restore previous versions of files, which could mean that important data is still missing.

For Florida businesses, backups that can still be accessed after natural disasters are essential — research shows that 40% of businesses never recover from a disaster. Creating a strong data recovery plan now could save your business later down the line.

Case Study: A medical billing company in Florida loses data to ransomware

Get professional data recovery help

In some cases, DIY data recovery methods just aren’t going to cut it. If you’ve experienced a disaster like a fire or flood, your data may appear to be lost forever.

Only an experienced IT professional will have any chance of restoring data from drives which are seriously damaged. Professionals can also help if you’ve tried the options above and failed to recover your lost files.

Understanding the different data recovery methods gives you the power to choose the right option the next time you’re dealing with data loss. If you’re not confident in your ability to deal with data recovery, consider investing in a managed IT service for data backup and recovery.