Thursday, December 13, 2012

Virtualisation and data encryption were the biggest data recovery challenges for businesses globally in 2012

Kroll Ontrack predicts data loss from mobile devices and solid state drives will continue to drive high demand for data recovery services in 2013

EPSOM – Dec. 13, 2012 – The rise of mobile devices in the workplace and widespread adoption of virtualisation drove an increase in data recovery requests globally in 2012, according to Kroll Ontrack, a leading provider of data recovery, information management, and e-disclosure products and services. The race to reduce the cost of solid state drives (SSDs) will further fuel adoption and even higher volumes of data recovery requests in 2013.

Due to well-recognised cost and flexibility benefits, small- to medium-sized businesses, in particular, adopted virtual environments in 2012. With an increase in adoption came an increase in data loss from these environments. Specifically, Ontrack Data Recovery engineers at Kroll Ontrack saw a 10 precent increase in user errors, such as administrators deleting virtual drives by mistake.

Encryption proved to be another data recovery challenge this year. As devices with hardware-based encryption became more widespread because of faster processing speeds, the use of software-based encryption decreased. Included as a standard feature, manufacturers shipped external HDDs with the encryption functionality activated. Users were often unaware that their hardware encryption was active, instead believing the HDD to simply be password protected. While encrypted drives are more secure, encryption adds an extra layer of complexity and makes it a more painstaking task to recover lost data.

2012: Top Three Witnessed Data Recovery Challenges

2013: Top Three Predicted Data Recovery Challenges

Growing use of mobile devices (tablets, smartphones, laptops) in the workplace (BYOD)

Greater use of solid state drives in business computing

Virtualised environments, particularly in small- to medium-sized enterprises

Adoption of more mobile platforms, such as Microsoft Surface™ and Microsoft Office 365™

Encryption on hardware devices replacing software encryption

Migration to new platforms, such as Windows® 8,  Microsoft SharePoint® 2013 and Windows Server® 2013

Beyond virtualisation and encryption, mobile devices are also impacting data recovery trends. Kroll Ontrack experienced an influx in mobile device data recovery requests in 2012 – in line with the bring your own device (BYOD) to work trend. Specifically, the ratio went from 50 percent desktop-sized hard drives (3.5 inch format) and 50 percent laptop-sized hard drives (2.5 inch or smaller format) in 2010, to 20 percent desktop-sized drives and 80 percent laptop-sized drives, which also includes external memory, tablets and phones, in 2012.

Data recovery requests handled by Kroll Ontrack





Desktop-sized Hard Disk Drives - 3.5 inch format




Laptop-sized Hard Disk Drives - 2.5 inch format or smaller (includes laptops, tablets, phones and external hard disk drives)




“In addition to the BYOD phenomenon this year, we saw a significant increase in the use of SSDs within laptops and PCs as well as more external hard disk drives (HDDs),” said Robert Winter, chief engineer, Kroll Ontrack. “This trend introduced new areas of risk to businesses and consumers alike. SSDs are more complex devices to recover from than traditional hard drives, but the use of personal external hard drives brings extra risks associated with lost or failing devices that are themselves not backed-up properly.”

2013 predictions: SSDs, mobile and migration

Looking forward, Kroll Ontrack predicts that SSDs will continue to cause individual users and businesses data recovery issues in 2013. The complexity of how data is stored on SSDs makes data recovery highly specialised and time consuming. A single SSD recovery can be as complex as a RAID recovery with eight, 16 or even 32 drives.

”SSDs are a newer technology, and very few data recovery providers have the ability to handle the RAID and  SSD layers required to put the data together in the event of a failure,” said Robert Winter. “Recovery requires specialised tools and software, and usually a significant investment in R&D, as data is stored in a different way on each drive. When evaluating SSDs against traditional hard disks, organisations need to make sure that they take into consideration the possibility of data loss and the subsequent need for a more time-consuming data recovery.”

The ubiquity of mobile devices will also continue to cause challenges in 2013, especially since new mobile platforms such as Microsoft Surface and Microsoft Office 365 will drive further use of tablets at work. Organisations will need to find ways to accommodate this trend in a secure environment, with both data recovery and data destruction playing a key role in planning.

Migration to new IT platforms can also cause challenges for corporations, who may lose vital data as part of the process if they fail to back up their data properly in the interim. One platform to be aware of is Windows Server 2012, formerly Windows Server 8, which will incorporate a new file system. Windows 2012 also comes with a new file system (ReFS) and a new storage management system (Storage Spaces).

“Technology continues to improve in terms of the value it adds to organisations, but the flipside is that data can be at risk during the transition phase if companies do not maintain effective backups,” added Johnson. “Our role is to anticipate the challenges new technologies cause. We already have our developers researching all of these new systems in order to add support for them to our tools.”

About Kroll Ontrack Inc.

Kroll Ontrack provides technology-driven services and software to help legal, corporate and government entities as well as consumers manage, recover, backup, search, analyze, produce and present data efficiently and cost-effectively. In addition to its award-winning suite of software, Kroll Ontrack provides data recovery, data backup, data destruction, electronic discovery and document review. Kroll Ontrack is a subsidiary of Altegrity, an industry-leading provider of information solutions. For more information about Kroll Ontrack and its offerings please visit: