A database is the means of organizing information so it can be easily managed, updated and retrieved. In general, a database is the collection of information in an organized manner such as a phone book or an address book. In computer science, it organizes information such as images, text, numerals, etc.
Users cannot directly access the database. They need a DBMS application, short for Database Management System, which provides access and a way to manage the data. Apart from the user, the DBMS software also interacts with other applications that need access to the database to perform their own functions, and DBMS, of course, interacts with the database itself.
It’s clear that losing a database would also mean losing the associated data. This means that if a business loses its databases for any number of reasons, with no backups stored, it is fair to assume that they will most likely lose the data too. Let’s have a look at the scenarios that could lead to a database loss.
What Are The Causes of Database Loss?
The database recovery process is not entirely different from data recovery. Similarly, the reasons for a database loss are also not too different from the reasons of loss of data.
Power failures can lead to hardware failure. The affected hardware components could be cables, power supplies or storage devices. It can render the data either inaccessible or simply result in data loss. One would need to isolate the affected area before investigating if the database was affected by the power failure.
While power failures can lead to disk failure, they can also fail due to physical damage or a logical failure. A performance evaluation by Backblaze found an average annualized failure rate of 1.97%, a not insignificant number. Either way, it will lead to the loss of a database unless a backup service is performed on the disk on a regular basis. Disk failure is probably one of the most common causes of data loss.
While most processes are automated these days, there are still many functions which have to be performed manually. An employee may unintentionally delete some data or may modify the data unknowingly in a way that would cease the DBMS from interacting with the database effectively. According to a report by scmagazineuk, human error is the number one cause of data loss.
When DBMS software is unable to interact with the database, it causes a ripple effect since the remaining third party applications relying on the DBMS to interact with the database also lose access to it.
Companies using traditional in-house IT infrastructures are more at risk of software corruption than those relying on cloud-based services. While cloud vendors provide flexibility and scalability of resources, traditional IT environments have fixed sets of hardware resources which they manually upgrade.
When the number of end users in a company increase, the applications using the same resources are divided even further among the new users, causing problems such as freezing and crashing of the operating systems and applications in the middle of using the software. Crashing causes the end user to lose the unsaved data. Repeated crashing can especially cause serious damage if the user is working on a database.
An enterprise cannot operate safely without the use of a good security solution. Cyber attacks are the biggest threat a company faces today and it is imperative that the security solution performs real-time scanning. Depending on the type of virus, it could have the ability to steal, corrupt, modify and even delete the complete database.
Natural disasters like earthquake or tsunami have the ability to destroy the entire infrastructure. In such an event, there is absolutely no way to even find, let alone recover, the data.
Disaster recovery is a solution which not only helps restore the data but also ensures the company faces minimum downtime as agreed upon in the SLA. Without a disaster recovery solution, a company may even have to resort to shutting down their business after the disaster.
A disgruntled employee could provide essential and confidential information to outsiders, causing untold damage to an organization. And if the employee has access or gains unauthorized access to systems or applications, he/she can inject a virus or delete data to halt the company’s day to day operations.
A few years ago, a blogging platform named JournalSpace was forced to shut down when a disgruntled employee interfered with their main database. Unfortunately, the company believed that mirroring the data was as good as a data backup, which was not the case. The changes performed in the database were also mirrored, rendering both the copies useless. As a consequence, the company was forced to cease operations.
Database recovery is not too different from Data recovery as it generally follows the same processes. However, a database is very different from the actual data itself.
These are some of the most common reasons for the loss of a database. However, having a database recovery solution ensures that none of the above reasons are likely to stop a company from functioning effectively.