June 02, 2010
By Ezra Brook, Editor,

County Loses Housing Records to Computer Glitch

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, published on May 28, 2010 (Page C-6), a computer glitch caused housing officials in Santa Clara County to lose backup copies of information.

It has been estimated that it will cost about $600,000 to replace the data.

The actual cause of the glitch is not known, but reported as “hardware and software failures”.

The board of the Housing Authority has voted to spend the money to restore backup records on tenants and owners of federally subsidized rental units.

About 12 percent of the records  — or 1.6 million images — vanished in January 2010. Keep in mind that the data loss was only 12% and amounted to 1.6 million images. This means, the total images in the system were about 13.4 million.

In order to reload the 1.6 million wiped out images, someone has to sit down and go over the original 13.4 million documents. This is not an easy task.

According to data loss calculator, if the number of affected records in a data loss are 250,000 (this is the maximum number for the calculator), then the cost of replacing them will range from $859,000 to $11.5 million USD, depending on the type of data lost.

You can imagine how expensive it gets to restore the 1.6 million records, when especially, one has to go over the 13.4 million records to compare the files. Therefore, if the agency can get away with only $600,000 to restore these images, it is actually way cheaper.

This incident once again brings home the importance of online data storage backup solutions. It sounded that this agency did not have an online data backup service. If they had, they could have easily restored their data and mitigated the risk of accidental wipe outs.

Click here to read the article at SF Chronicle

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