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How I learnt the true value of data!

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How I learnt the true value of data

For several years, I’ve been employed by a data recovery company based in the United Kingdom. Throughout my time here I have always been appreciative of how valuable data is from a functional standpoint, but it was not until I myself suffered data loss that I realised just how valuable it can also be on a personal level.

You see, in November 2015, I became a father for the first time and, thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, I’ve always had a device with me that allowed me to take a photograph or video of my daughter whenever needed. As a result, both my wife and I found our phones – and subsequently our PC’s hard drive – filled with precious memories. Memories which I, foolishly, did not back up to either a separate physical device or the cloud.

I know what you’re thinking, I really do: I should have known better – and you’re right. I just thought it would never happen to me and, perhaps more importantly, I hadn’t really thought about how much my data meant to me, my wife and, hopefully one day, my daughter too.

Here’s the thing, like so many people, I didn’t think it’d affect me. It’s cliched, but I honestly thought data loss was something that happened to other people. Plus, on reflection, I don’t think I viewed these pictures and videos as data. When I thought of data, I still thought of spreadsheets, databases and documents – functional, cold and unemotional. This wasn’t the case, of course. Data takes many forms, I was simply being naïve.

As I’m sure you’ve worked out, my PC’s hard drive failed and, following me having realised that data could be just as precious as things like the clothes my daughter was wearing when we first brought her home from hospital or the first toy she played with, I was dejected.

The thought of not being able to look at these photos or watch these videos again was upsetting, yes, but the most upsetting thing was the thought that I’d never be able to share them with my daughter when she was old enough to appreciate what they meant. I’d imagined the two of us looking at them after she’d had her own children and, suddenly, it felt that this dream could now never become reality.

Now, I was lucky enough to have an employer who could not only help me out here but that also recognised how upsetting I’d found this whole debacle and didn’t make fun of my failure to make backups until after they’d recovered my data. We could all laugh about it together after this and, let’s be honest, I worked for a data recovery company, I deserved it!

This experience taught me one thing, and that’s that the true value of data lies within the happiness it gives us, not it’s practical uses. Just imagine, for example, if I’d never been able to look at this picture again – my world simply would have been a less wonderful place.

Jay Williams work as an adminstrator for Fields Data Recovery who specialise in data recovery and have offices throughout Europe and North America.


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