Are You Kiddin' Me?

$38 Billion Deleted from Alaska Department of Revenue

April 2, 2007

$38 Billion (8 zeros) deleted because of human error? At the Alaska Department of Revenue, a technician wiped out a hard disk that was believed to contain information which was worth $38 billion. How could something like that happen?

It happened while a technician with the Alaska Department of Revenue was doing his routine maintenance work when he accidentally deleted all of the information in an oil-funded account, and adding more salt to the wound, reformatted the backup drive as well. “Never fear – we have our trusty backup tapes that we have been making regularly!” Guess what, they were unreadable.

Seasonal workers and consultants from Dell and Microsoft were roped in to help restore the “deleted” information from paper which was stored in more than 300 boxes.

After months of re-entering and document scanning, all the data was put back in place and all was well in the Alaska D.O.R. But this emphasizes the need to have a reliable backup plan. What would you do if you lost all of the information on your computer? If you are a business, what if you lost all of your customer data or your payroll information. If you keep product inventory, what would you do if all of that information was suddenly gone and the only way to get it back in the computer was to re-enter it by hand?

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