Avoid data loss this winter with these 3 tips

22 December 2017 by Michael Nuncic

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s getting to that time of year where the roads are busy and the airports are crowded with those of us taking time off work to spend it with family and friends.

No matter whether you are jetting off somewhere hot or staying closer to home, it’s likely that you’ll be taking at least a few devices with you on your travels over the festive period; your phone (which is a given), the iPad for the kids when you’re in the car, maybe even your work laptop just in case.

Whatever devices you use over the Christmas period, they all come with their own risk of data loss for a number of different reasons (some of which may or may not involve one too many tipples with your Christmas dinner).

In this post we’ll highlight the most common ways that data gets lost over the festive period (trust us, we’ve seen almost everything!), and what you can do to keep your devices safe throughout the winter months.

Keep away from fire

First up, watch out for anything that could burn your devices. You might think that this will never happen, but we’ve seen countless burnt devices in our data recovery labs over the Christmas season as a result of a fire accident, from laptops and smartphones to high-end servers. One such incident was a notebook that burst into flames because it was sat too near an open fire! Moral of the story; make sure you keep your devices well away from any source of flame (including candles), just in case the worst should happen.

Hot tip: if you are unfortunate enough to have an accident with one of your devices involving fire, make sure that you do not power it back on, under any circumstances. You’ll need to contact a professional data recovery provider who can attempt to bypass the problems safely and access your data.

Take care in frosty conditions

Snow, ice and generally adverse weather conditions can play a part in data loss, often when you least expect it. While they’re great for keeping out the cold, wearing gloves also makes it much harder to hold your phone properly. It sounds like a trivial thing to worry about, but it’s a common occurrence to have your smartphone slip out of your hands because you have less grip!

This could lead to dropping your phone on a hard surface that can crack or smash the screen, but it’s also fairly common for your phone to unexpectedly fall out of your pocket into snow or into a muddy puddle, both of which could damage your device severely if there is an ingress of moisture and/or dirt.

If your device has been damaged in, either way, the best course of action is to take it to a specialist for further advice on what to do next. Chances are your data will still be intact and can be retrieved after your device has been cleaned properly.

Watch out for liquid damage

Here’s another one that you may think is fairly simple and will never happen, but in our experience, it does more than you might think; liquids being spilt on your devices. If you’re on holiday and your phone gets dropped in the swimming pool or the sea, try to get it out as quickly as possible (if it’s safe to do so), however, as we mentioned earlier - do not try and turn it on. Doing so may cause a short circuit, which can cause serious damage to the internal electronics.

It’s worth mentioning here that even ‘water proof’ phones are not completely immune from liquid damage. What’s more, different types of liquids will do more damage to electronic devices than others. For example, dropping a phone in the sea or into a glass of cola will have different effects than if you were to drop it into plain water.

Regardless of what has happened, any form of liquid damage is not something that you should attempt to resolve on a DIY basis; it’s best to leave it to a professional to preserve the chances of your data being recoverable.

In fact, DIY methods usually always make the situation worse. We’ve seen lots of devices come into our data recovery labs where the owner has tried something to fix the problem, but may have ended up damaging the device beyond repair (and sometimes therefore making the data unrecoverable).

As a general rule, always stop using the device immediately after the initial damage has occurred, then call a professional data recovery company for advice and next steps.