My experience with ioSafe began at target="_blank">CES 2011, where I got to try crushing one of their hard drives in a pin vice. I recently had a chance to talk with Robb Moore, CEO, about everything from proper back-up technique to the Amazon data disaster. Here's what he had to say:
1. What would you say is the most challenging aspect of operating your disaster recovery service? What sort of issues have given you the most trouble?
The most challenging aspect remains the human factor. No matter how fireproof or waterproof our designs may be, humans still ultimately decide how the product is used. And humans make mistakes. Teaching the general public that “backup” means to copy the data – not move the data – to the backup target. Fortunately, the Data Recovery Service we offer covers any data loss for any reason and we have a great track record of recovering data for our customers.
2. What is your opinion on Amazon's recent outage and data loss, is there anything you think they could have done to prevent it?
Human error ultimately caused the outage at Amazon. There are always ways to prevent any one kind of outage but we’ll never get away from human mistakes – it just happens. From the end user’s perspective, it’s an important lesson to learn – don’t put all your eggs in any one basket. At ioSafe, we’re big fans of using multiple overlapping strategies to protect data. No one strategy, no matter how sophisticated or expensive, should be trusted for covering every possibility. A layered backup strategy using the cloud, offsite storage and onsite disaster proof hardware will result in a very robust disaster recovery plan. If you don’t have the time or resources to implement a sophisticated approach, using ioSafe hardware combined with our Data Recovery Service has resulted in 99.98% success among ioSafe users protecting or recovering their data. We’re very proud of our success rate given nearly 1/2 of all end users have experienced data loss at some time in their life.
3. Are you worried about cloud computing as competition for backup storage in the near future? How do you feel about platforms, like Chrome OS, that will store some or all of their core data in the cloud?
At ioSafe, we think the public cloud is a great backup target if you generally have 20 GB or less to backup. Beyond this, it becomes pretty cumbersome to move the data. For users with over 20 or 30 GB, they’re probably going to backup to external hard drives. Considering that data storage has consistently outgrown internet connection speeds, I don’t see the public cloud somehow making external hard drives obsolete. Private cloud strategies such as combining NAS with disaster proof hardware backup target is popular with some of our more sophisticated users. Essentially this creates an inexpensive private cloud solution that offers terabytes of data backed up to fireproof waterproof hardware. It checks off a lot of boxes for the end user. It’s really a great solution that can combine Disaster Recovery with RAID, NAS, remote cloud accessibility with local speed, security and low comparative costs.
4. I read in an earlier interview that your products are currently not rated for EMPs. Is this something you have planned for future products? Do you actually see EMP as a realistic threat to data in this day and age?
Considering the cost and low probability, I don’t feel EMP solutions are required consumer or business features. If someone detonates a thermo-nuclear device over my house, my thoughts probably won’t be centered around my data.
We are constantly working on solutions to save precious digital data and critical business data. Despite much of the technology today, data loss continues to be a big issue. Everybody has either had data loss or knows someone that has experienced massive data loss. Our mission is to protect data wherever it's stored. 70% of data doesn’t sit in data centers. 70% of data is stored somewhere in our houses, briefcases and pockets – most of it is vulnerable. We will continue our quest to protect data – wherever it sits vulnerable. But, no, I can’t give you specific details about our plans for the CES 2012 demo except to say it will be new, relevant and probably won’t involve automatic weapons.
6. Your company has an excellent returns policy for damaged products. What is the strangest damage you've ever seen to a hard drive? Have you ever encountered one so badly damaged that no information could be recovered at all?
We’re not perfect - nobody is - but, as I already mentioned, we're extremely proud of our 99.98% success rate. Fire and water damaged drives have been very straightforward to recover. We had a medical clinic that burned to the ground. They lost everything but what was on the ioSafe. They recovered the server data with all the business and patient records.
One of our other customers had a series of compounding errors – both human and machine. He backed up his QuickBooks server and laptop to the ioSafe. Reformatted his server and laptop leaving the only copy on the ioSafe. Random drive failure of the ioSafe drive caused the R/W heads to scrape away at the internal platters. He let us know two weeks later after saving data to the formatted server in the meantime – Not a good situation! We paid to have a technician go out and image his server drive and bring the original back to us. We recovered the critical sections of the old formatted partition and sent the data back to him. All of this work was covered under our Data Recovery Service policy – he didn’t have to pay anything extra. That was a close call!