Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Protect your data!

Here's a cautionary tale that I heard on the net.

We had an incident that, not to get into much HR related stuff, appears to be a fired employee(s) initiating a mass deletion of files off the shared folder on the file server (over 100 GB). I happened to be looking at the file system at the time I started seeing all the files disappearing. Shortly after, I got calls from users that files were gone.

Anyone who has files shared by more than a couple very trusted users needs to read this type of article every couple months. It can happen to anyone either through malice, ignorance (that's a polite way to say "incompetence"), or accident. Poof - and years of work are gone.

Of course, that won't be a big deal since you all have good and current backups of your current data. A couple hours and it's all back where it belongs.

Even so, organizational and administrative practices - even for home users - will help minimize the likelihood of this happening to you and reduce the total lost time when it does.

  • Organization - Know what and where your data are. Did you let your bookkeeping program put it's data somewhere deep in a hidden folder? Do you have momentary notes and personal letters mixed in with archival documents? Where do you keep data that should be available to all users?
  • Permissions - Since we quit using Windows 98, we've been able to restrict who may view or change data on a file or folder basis. Are you using this capability to protect sensitive HR or financial files (or your paystub) from users who shouldn't be reading this information (your kids)?
  • Backup - Now that you've got everything straightened out administratively, you need to protect it against physical disaster.

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