A hard lesson in the absolute necessity of backing up hosting data was learned this week by the owner of a long-established automobile forum hosted with RackForce. The story, offered to WHIR magazine by the site owner himself, should speak volumes to anyone concerned about the security of their files and their own culpability when it comes to regularly backing up data.
Zack Kanter is the owner of ImpalaSSforum.com, a community that has existed for over 10 years and was home to more than 1.5 million posts by its members. While performing routine site maintenance and approaching RackForce technical agents for support, a communication failure lead the technician to mistakenly delete the main forum database, instantly erasing Kanter’s business platform as an online publisher and performance auto parts salesman. As if the resulting downtime that the replacement of 10 years worth of data entails wasn’t enough, Kanter realized that he did not have a single backup of the lost database, making recovery impossible.
For its part, RackForce immediately acknowledged the error and issued a short statement to WHIR following the breaking of the news, calling the event “unusual and unfortunate” in an email and noting that, while responsibility for the event ultimately lay with the technician in question, Mr. Kanter did not subscribe to the company’s own backup service offering.
The issue was caused by a miscommunication between the customer and one of our technical staff, which resulted in a data file being deleted. We made every effort to recover the lost information; however, because the customer did not subscribe to any back up services with RackForce nor did they have any back ups of their own, the lost data was unrecoverable.
While Mr. Kanter is surely cursing the errant technician, and rightfully so, one has to wonder why exactly he operated a web site of that age, standing and content without regularly backing up the associated files and databases. Given the extreme consequences faced in this situation, we can likely assume that a clear lesson has been learned by those involved but it is an equally good opportunity for hostees in general to expound upon themselves the absolute necessity of regular backups. With easy access to backup services offered by many hosts and third-party firms, not to mention the relative ease of working from the command line to schedule data backups, there are simply no excuses where data security is concerned.
As the popular saying goes, stuff happens. The most important aspect of any situation involving data loss is the recoverability of said data; backup and backup often, your very livelihood may depend on it someday.