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Summer Security: Don't Put Backups In The Trunk

Temperatures are starting to rise outside -- and when they do, you can bet they're rising even faster in trunks and locked cars. Which are two of the places you should never put media you're transporting. And according to a data recovery specialist, they're also two of the most common locations for media in transit -- and two of the most common sources of data damage.
Temperatures are starting to rise outside -- and when they do, you can bet they're rising even faster in trunks and locked cars. Which are two of the places you should never put media you're transporting. And according to a data recovery specialist, they're also two of the most common locations for media in transit -- and two of the most common sources of data damage."Never, ever put disks or other media in the trunk of a car," says Dyan Parker, chief performance officer for WeRecoverData.com.

Parker is all too familiar with the increase in data recovery calls as the temperature climbs.

"Heat really does degrade data," she says. "The number of inquiries we get regarding damaged and corrupted disks goes way up in the summer."

She's quick to point out that heat isn't only a summertime challenge: "Don't leave storage media near a sunny window, or too close to a radiator in winter, either."

And if your data does become corrupted or inaccessible, whether as a result of heat or other influences?

"Obviously, we're in the business of recovering data, so my advice is to take the disk to a reputable professional recovery company" she says, laughing. But her counsel is not solely self-serving:

"There's a very important reason to do so. The first chance of recovery is also the best chance of recovery. If you're going to take your disk to a recovery specialist, the best way to increase the specialist's chances of recovering your data is to leave the disk alone as soon as it fails. Tools and utilities you might use to try your own recovery can actually make the recovery more difficult, can actually cause more damage."

Parker's advice is derived from WeRecoverData.com's decade or so of business, as well as her awareness, again from experience, of how emotionally devastating a serious data loss can be.

"It's like post-traumatic stress syndrome," she says. "People are distraught, sometimes angry at themselves for losing data, worried about the business implications of the data loss, devastated by the loss of important personal information such as pictures."

That emotional component can magnify the concerns and worries, further risking additional damage from do-it-yourself recovery attempts.

Of course, if you do decide to get your damaged disk or crashed computer to a recovery expert, don't put it in the trunk for the trip.

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