A Cautionary Tale of the Backup

A company I had previously worked for had decided to implement a policy. All writeable media and computer equipment taken off the premises to be used at a third party's location i.e. client sites, supplier's sites, public meeting places, would have to be encrypted.

The IT department was given the task of auditing the company's computer systems and media. Anything that was likely to be taken to site was immediately encrypted.

After the majority of equipment had been through the auditing and encryption process, there were only a few items left to complete.

Some items couldn't be found, others were out on site and wouldn't be available for a few weeks.

One item was available - a laptop. The problem was, it was the Purchasing Manager's, and he used it constantly. Trying to obtain it for encryption would require a spare laptop being made available, allowing him to continue his work uninterrupted. Eventually, after a couple of weeks, the IT department had everything in place to encrypt this one laptop.

The problem was no one had checked prior to the encryption the Purchasing Manager had backed up all of his critical data. Whether it was to either the company's server or a portable hard disk, no backup had been carried.

Yes, the inevitable happened - the IT department managed to crash the said laptop and destroy all of the data in the process. The Purchasing Manager was not very chuffed. He had lost over 5 years worth of data and contact information.

The Quality Manager was not very happy either because the Purchasing Manager had not followed company procedures.

The Directors were not very happy because all of the consequential mess could have been avoided if the Purchasing Manager/IT department had backed up the important data.

Fortunately nobody got sacked, but there were a few burnt ears.

Lesson learned.