What Every Business Needs to Know About Delete

There’s delete, and then there’s destroy.  The first is temporary, kind of hanging in the balance. The second is gone, adios forever, not coming back like the time you flatulated in the presence of your spouses’ parents, forgetting that is wasn’t just the two of you.  You can’t get it back. Sometimes you really want to hang in the balance, sometimes you want to travel back in time, and sometimes you are at peace knowing that even (spoiler alert) the Avengers can pull that off.  In this article, we’ll discuss when temporary destruction is good and when it’s bad, when you want something forever deleted and when you don’t.

When deleted isn’t deleted

There are several technological processes and IT services available to avoid detrimental effects of what my friend calls click-itis (clicking something you didn’t mean to).  There shouldn’t be an event where you accidentally delete a document that you can’t get back. Shadow Copy is an available technology that protects files stored on Microsoft file servers; it keeps several versions of the files.  Over the years, Shadow Copy has saved me much pain and suffering; ask your administrator if Shadow Copy is turned on at your business.

You might ask, “if I store my files in the cloud, how do I stop click-itis?”  Any cloud backup service worth mentioning has a versioning option that also keeps several copies of files.  As a last resort, a well-planned backup, restore, and disaster recovery plan can bring you back from the brink.  What is your plan?

Finally, even files “deleted” from a hard drive where there is no Shadow Copy, versioning, or backup can be undeleted because the patterns that make up those files are still very much in place.  Mind you, if you’re at this stage of recovery, you are grasping at straws of desperation, and retrieval, while possible, may not be worth the effort.

It isn’t gone until all the bits say so … or there was a shooting

If you are replacing your computer, you can’t just throw it out and then have a good night’s sleep, at least not now that you are reading this.  Your computer’s hard drive still contains data, even if you deleted everything in your Documents folder and emptied the recycle bin.  The compromising photo of you eating that whole box of donuts is still on your hard drive, stored in patterns of bits and bytes; an undelete program that your grandmother can run can easily restore those photos for her family album.  Not to mention the list of your client’s private information, also on your desktop, that you “deleted” is still accessible.  One way to be certain that data from hard drives cannot be recovered is to scramble each and every bit (roughly 70 trillion bits on your average 1TB hard drive) three to seven times. That sounds like a lot, but there are programs to do this.  Another way my friend (not the click-itis friend) ensures data cannot be retrieved from hard drives is to shoot them with a high-power hunting rifle; I know, slightly backwoods, but effective.  In other words, the only other way to be sure that data can’t be recovered from a discarded hard drive is to physically destroy the drive.

This article is really about data management.  Delete should be on purpose, but when it’s not, a good data management plan will make all the difference.  It may even save your company from extinction.

If you need help with IT Consulting or IT Services in Calgary, make sure to contact the experts at YellowWood IT. A small business depends on the right technology, at the right time, in the right place, and at YellowWood IT, we have the requisite knowledge and purpose to help you and your small business with your technology.  Get started with confidence, www.yellowwoodit.ca | (844) 387 – 0607