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There were many terrible lessons learned from the September 11 disasters in New York, but one that is often over looked was the loss of data that occurred after both World Trade centers were destroyed. While this obviously is of trivial importance compared to the human loss that was suffered on that day, it should not be ignored.
Obviously the terrorists targeted the Twin Towers because they were massive symbols of the American economy. In those towers were thousands of computers and disks of all kinds that stored information that was vital to the companies doing business there. When the disaster happened all of these were destroyed (most were destroyed beyond and hope of recovery) but a small amount of data was salvaged and through expert disk recovery some data survived.
I is a testament to the skill and technology involved in disk recovery that they were able to save any information al all. With all of that debris and the amount of heat generated by the engine fuel in the planes, it should have destroyed all of the data…and realistically, if the data had been all in paper, it would have.
This taught the financial world and the new economy people a valuable lesson. In one fatal blow all of your data can be lost and never recovered. Some companies started changing the way they backed up their files. This meant that they had an off-site database that could store all of their data.
Other companies even had emergency evacuation strategies for their data. One company in particular has come up with a plan that, in the case of a terrorist attack they will actually fly their hard disks to an undisclosed location.
This seems a little silly to me considering that if ever there were another major terrorist attack, no planes would be allowed to take off, and any that did would be shot down promptly by the air force.
But, whatever happens we can be safe knowing that data recovery has become so profitable that the industry is flooded with competition. This competition is pushing the boundaries of what can be done, and soon there won't be a piece of data that cannot be recovered some way.