Smoking In A Warehouse Was A Data Disaster

Smoking In A Warehouse Was A Data Disaster
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Lists abound at the end of the year, but one of my favourites is the roundup of data disasters seen in the laboratories of recovery firm Kroll Ontrack. The best story? It involves a security guard, a cigarette and 44 ruined PCs.

Picture by Chris Davis

This is the sorry saga direct from the Kroll Ontrack blog:

A newly hired security guard was doing his first evening security check in a chemical ingredients warehouse. While he was informed that smoking is forbidden, he pondered who could possibly spot him enjoying a cigarette after company hours. After it was lit, the fire alarm sounded and prompted the anti-fire sprinkler system. All the electronic equipment, including 44 desktops and two servers, were flooded.

While the data was recovered, it was an expensive exercise. All these stories serve as a reminder that having a multi-tiered backup strategy — including both local hard drives and cloud options — is your best protection against data loss. Hit the link for the other tales of woe.

2011 Top 10 Data Disasters


  • Sounds a little over the top to me, a bit like in films where as soon as someone hits the fire alarm the sprinklers for the whole building turn on. This is just not true because the sprinklers are triggered by the breaking of the little red vials blocking the sprinkler, due to the heat of a fire. That way the sprinkler targets the source of the fire rather than just needlessly flooding the building.

    • Depends on the type of system though.. some are heat enabled, like those ones you are talking about.. others are particle density enabled, like those found in your home or aircraft and there’s others that work differently as well. So if you had one of the latter type, which was sensitive enough to be set off by someone smoking and it was linked to the sprinkler system.. then yer.. it’s believable..

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