I have written often (http://tinyurl.com/2nuwwd) about the need to make frequent backup copies of your genealogy data, as well as other computerized information that is important to you. Old family photographs and documents also should be scanned for backup purposes. In fact, I have always pointed out that one backup copy is not enough; you need two or more copies, stored in different locations. It appears that a computer technician in Alaska has not been reading my articles. The information he lost tracked $38 billion in assets.
The computer technician needed to reformat a disk drive at the Alaska Department of Revenue. While doing routine maintenance work, he accidentally deleted applicant information for an oil-funded account - one of Alaska residents' biggest perks. To make matters worse, he mistakenly reformatted the backup drive, as well.
The situation became grim when the department discovered its second backups on tapes were unreadable.
Over the next few days, the Department of Revenue's computer techs and consultants from Microsoft Corp. and Dell Inc. labored to retrieve the data. However, they were unsuccessful. Nine months' worth of applicant information for the yearly payout from the Alaska Permanent Fund was gone: some 800,000 electronic images that had been painstakingly scanned into the system months earlier, the 2006 paper applications that people had either mailed in or filed over the counter, and supporting documentation such as birth certificates and proof of residence.
The department had still one more backup: the original paperwork itself, stored in more than 300 cardboard boxes. Half a dozen seasonal workers came back to assist the regular division staff, and about 70 people working overtime and weekends re-entered all the data that had been accidentally erased. Payment checks were mailed on time.
The Alaska Department of Revenue is now asking lawmakers to approve a supplemental budget request for $220,700 to cover the excess costs incurred during the six-week recovery effort, including about $128,400 in overtime and $71,800 for computer consultants. It seems to have been an expensive lesson.
You can read more about Alaska's backup disaster at http://tinyurl.com/2ses5n.
Do you have a current backup of your data? Multiple backups? If not, how much will it cost you in time and money to recreate your data?