The Consequences of Hard Drive Failure

Whether you rely on your hard drive to store invaluable family photos or important financial data for your business, there is risk associated with storing your information locally.  Although many hard drive manufacturers claim failure rates that are below 1 percent, studies have shown that failure rates can often be as high as 14 percent.  There is also no difference in reliability between the internal hard drive in your computer and an external one that you may have purchased to store additional information.

Hard drives can fail for a number of reasons.  Often there are no warning signs before catastrophic failure occurs.  One of the most devastating forms of failure is known as a head crash.  During a head crash, the internal read/write head collides with and scratches the magnetic storage surface of the disk.  Usually these failures result in severe data loss and the damage can become even worse when repairs are attempted.

Other failures can be attributed to moisture or debris getting past the air filter of the drive and contaminating the internal components.  Power surges can also induce failures up to and including a head crash.  Physical impacts can contribute to failure as can exposure to magnetic fields.  Although these are the most common causes for hard drive failure, there are many other more obscure causes that can just as easily corrupt your data beyond recovery.

Once a hard drive has failed, it can be difficult to determine whether or not the data is recoverable.  Often recovery must be performed by a qualified repair shop and the cost can easily be more than your entire computer system is worth.  In some cases, the data may not be recoverable at all.  More frequently, some data is lost and you do not have control over what is lost and what is recoverable.

From a business perspective, a hard drive failure can be financially devastating.  Many IT professionals believe that significant data loss could lead their company into bankruptcy.  Customer information, financial transactions, and sales data can take months to recover.  Entire companies have crumbled as a result of a single data loss event.  Immediately following a serious hardware failure, business may come to a halt while the repairs are made.  Many of the specialized drives used for storage are not readily available.  This means it could be weeks before a business is able to fully recover from the incident.  During this economic downturn, many businesses simply cannot handle the lost income and increased expenses associated with a serious hard drive failure.

Many consumers take pictures with their smartphones or digital cameras and then transfer them to the computer for printing or viewing.  If the hard drive of your home computer crashes, these precious memories could be lost forever.  Even if you have copies of these important files stored on a separate external hard drive your data is at risk.  These drives can fail or a natural disaster could completely destroy the hard drive and all of its contents.

Fortunately, there is a solution that practically eliminates the risks associated with hard drive failure.  Online backup solutions are cost effective, secure, and easy to use.  By storing your information on redundant servers off site, the probability of data loss is reduced almost to zero.  The automated nature of cloud based storage also means that you will spend less time backing up information and more time being productive.  A hard drive failure can be devastating to anyone who is not prepared.  Try not to be a statistic and start using online backup services today.