Interview: Sean Wade, Founder and CEO of 24-Hour Data
Sean Wade is the Founder & CEO of 24 Hour Data, a company specializing in Data Recovery from Hard Drives, RAID arrays, Virtual Servers, Macs, SSD, Databases, and more. Sean has been an Apple Certified Service Provider since 1995 and extensive experience in Data Recovery, RAID Data Recovery, Mac Data Recovery, SSD Data Recovery, Managed Services, Data Consulting, Data Storage, Data Security, Data Backup and Data Destruction.
1. What was the rationale behind founding 24 Hour Data back in 2006?
In 1995, I co-founded a company called Mactracks, which was an Apple Certified Service Provider and VAR. Over the years we helped several clients with Data Recovery projects. I noticed that the companies in the industry were not focused on customer service. They had a real “take it or leave it” attitude and were not sensitive to clients’ situations. When you have lost data it could be your job on the line or pictures of your wedding and children, which are priceless. 24 Hour Data is focused on customer service and communication.
2. In addition to being the company’s founder, you’re also the CEO. What responsibilities do you shoulder on a typical–if there is such a thing–work day?
24 Hour Data is a small company, so I wear many hats. My primary focus is on Marketing and Customer Service. However, many days I work with Engineering, Security, Legal, HR, Accounting, and the list goes on and on. A businessman I respect a great deal said to me “It is hard to navigate a boat if you are rowing.” This statement rings true, but sometimes you have to jump in and row.
3. Security is obviously a hot-button issue right now, and I see on your LinkedIn profile page that data security is just one of your many specialties. To what extent can cyber attacks lead to the need for data recovery services?
Great question, we are seeing a large volume of data recovery projects from the Cryptolocker Viruses. Network Security is critical to avoid viruses, malware, hackers, and so on. All of these situations are potential data loss threats and unfortunately many times there is not a solution for recovery.
4. In this day and age when IT professionals should know to back things up on a regular basis, why would there be a need for data recovery services?
I could write a whole article on this question. First, just because you have a backup running does not mean the backup is running properly. If IT professionals do not perform regular test restores of backups then there is no way to confirm your backups will restore when data loss strikes. Second, if you do not have an off-site backup then there are many risks, which could lead to data recovery needs. We see fires, floods, hardware failure, malicious attacks from unhappy employees, and so on quite often. 24 Hour Data always recommends an online/off-site backup solution. Third, most IT professionals run nightly backup routines that leaves all data from the current workday at risk. Even losing data between a backup of 24 hours can be catastrophic and require data recovery. These are just a few examples, but every company should have a Business Continuity Plan as well as a Disaster Recovery Plan.
5. What are some of the common mistakes that businesses make that can leave their data subject to being corrupted or misplaced, and, what are some of the consequences of losing data?
Network Security is a key point that most businesses do not focus on nearly enough. Businesses should look to ensure they have anti-virus software on all systems and servers, strong password with a short window for updating them, and managed firewalls that are actually monitored. Of course, we should not overlook the obvious backups both on and off-site. The numbers are staggering for businesses that have data loss or a data breach and cannot recover. The Gartner Group says that only 6% of businesses survive after a major data loss.*
6. At about the same time you founded 24 Hour Data, you founded Boomerang Data, which provides managed IT services and backup solutions. How is your 24 Hour Data venture different from your Boomerang Data venture, where you stayed for four years?
I founded Boomerang Data with Cameron Gawley who is now the CEO of Buzzshift. Cameron and I saw the need for many of our IT clients for off-site/online backups. We decide to start Boomerang Data. What we found is that even though our new clients needed backups, they needed the IT support more. Then Boomerang Data started down the Managed Services path. However, my focus was on 24 Hour Data and I had to make a change. 24 Hour Data has always been a single service, which is Data Recovery plain and simple.
7. What hard and soft skills do you require to lead 24 Hour Data, and how important are your data security skills at the company?
Having over 20 years in the technology industry certainly helps with network security. The truth is I do not do it alone. 24 Hour Data has a strong team with a ton of experience in hardware and software.
8. What sorts of emerging trends in the industry could become game-changers in terms of how 24 Hour Data or its customers do business in the future?
The obvious answer is the Cloud. The Cloud is the biggest game-changer in our business. There are predictions that the Data recovery industry will continually go downhill as more people go to cloud based data storage. In 2013 over 545 million hard drives were sold. That does not account for any other storage media. I think our industry is stronger than ever.
9. Why should businesses hire 24 Hour Data, rather than one of its competitors, to meet their data security needs in a way that lines up with security best practices?
24 Hour Data takes security serious and we are happy to let our clients know the measures we take to secure their data. From a physical level we employ strict access control that is multi-layered. We have 24/7 video surveillance both inside and outside of the facility. Everyone employed at 24 Hour Data goes through a strong background check. The most important layer of our security is the network security. This is where best practices come into play and one critical differentiator from our competitors.
10. What processes has 24 Hour Data put in place to ensure that customers’ confidentiality is maintained?
We are very detailed oriented when storage comes in and out of our facility. We document every drive from the serial number to the data it was produced. This level of detail is carried through the recovery process. Once data is recovered we securely wipe client data using DOD standards. From working with IBM, Harvard, Texas Instruments, and so on we also have strict NDAs we sign in tandem with our Terms and Conditions. Data Security and Confidentiality are often overlooked, but critical to the Data Recovery industry.