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Can we protect data from natural disasters?

Mar 18, 2012 Blog 1 Comment
Can we protect data from natural disasters?

Leaving all your data in spot is a very bad idea. It may seem like a waste of time to backup and we usually have the mentality that “it could never happen to me” – until it does happen and all your important data are gone. Backing up personal data is one thing, but what if you have an entire business worth of data?

You may think your data is safely locked up in a data center somewhere but again, leaving data all in one spot is a very bad idea.

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In a recent BBC article, the one year anniversary of Japan’s earthquake and subsequent tsunami is a reminder of what happens if we leave all our data in just one place.

Last weekend marked the one-year anniversary of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami – a catastrophic event which claimed the lives of more than 15,000 people, and left 300,000 survivors homeless.

As the country – and the world – tried to come to terms with the human cost, the Japanese government also had to fend off the economic disaster, pumping trillions of yen into the economy to help businesses whose infrastructures and assets had been decimated.

Among them, some of the world’s biggest technology companies.

Faced with disaster Sony, Texas Instruments, Sharp, Panasonic and others had to shut affected factories. Sony alone posted a £122m loss for the quarter following the disaster.

It was the beginning of a challenging year – just months later, the sector was rocked by another disaster: Thailand’s floods – the worst in over 50 years to hit the manufacturing hub.

The impact of both events is still being felt by companies and consumers today due to component shortages and inflated prices.

Western Digital, the world’s biggest producer of hard drives, saw 50% of its production process quite literally swept away in the Thai disaster.

“We saw it coming,” said Ian Keene, sales director at the company. “People in the factory tried to hold back the water. Unfortunately we weren’t able to keep it back.

“The water crept under the front door, and just kept on coming.

“We had divers in the from the Thai navy, helping unscrew and unbolt a lot of equipment so we could get it out before the floods went away.

“We, and the industry, are still in a situation of shortage. Significant shortages still. Typically, quarterly demand is in 170-175 million units. In the Christmas quarter we got out 110 million.”

As with any product high in demand, this has led to dramatic price increases for consumers.

“We made some pretty tough decisions to raise prices to enable us to recover the costs. We spent many millions of dollars replacing and refurbishing equipment,” Mr Keene told the BBC.

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