If the temperatures rise, so do disk failures
There are two businesses I know that are likely to benefit from global warming: Auntie Mabel’s B&B in Blackpool (where the climate is predicted to become rather like the South of France today); and Kroll Ontrack (or more specifically, the data recovery arm of Kroll). The reason for the former is clear; the reason for the latter is less so. The precise cause is not obvious, but based on past experience Kroll is expecting a seasonal effect on disk problems to lead to a 15% increase in calls on its data recovery services over the next couple of months.
Robert Winter, Ontrack Data Recovery’s chief engineer, believes that there are probably two primary reasons: summer maintenance and climatic variations. “Companies often do maintenance in the summer months during slow periods when many people are on holiday – but if the maintenance finds problems – or even tips the storage device over the edge into a failure, then the staff who might be able to fix things are on holiday.” Who you gonna call? Kroll Ontrack!
The other main cause is simply summer. But it’s not just the raw temperature, it seems to be rapid change that causes the problems. “We can’t predict exact numbers, but from past experience we can certainly say we’re going to get an increased number of recovery calls. This is particularly marked when the weather changes from cool to very hot on a day by day basis.” In fact, a typical English summer. “If we get a sustained period of hot weather,” continues Winter, “we tend not to see those spikes in disk problems.”
Other climate related problems include electrical storms and floods – in fact everything that we are told to expect from climate change. But I wondered if we were being unfair to our devices: have they, in fact, become so reliable that we now take them for granted and are complacent about how we treat them? “I think you’re right,” says Winter. “There is certainly a degree of complacency because the general reliability of systems has improved so much. This is particularly noticeable with modern portable devices. We’re not being very fair on our iPhones and tablets and laptops if we leave them in the car or on a window sill on a hot day; that environment is extreme – I think we should be a bit more cautious and look after our equipment better than we do.”
Now there’s a thought. We’re putting just as much, if not more, personal and sensitive data on our portable devices and we misuse and abuse them even more than our desktop computers. Data recovery on mobile devices is going to be a huge market for Kroll! So what can we do? Well, follow the advice in the panel above, take more general care, keep Kroll’s phone number handy, and buy shares in a data recovery company.