Catastrophic data loss prompts industry warning

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Agents heavily reliant on technology must ensure their data is backed up daily, warns one Queensland principal who recently suffered a catastrophic loss of critical customer information.

Coral Sea Property Management, in Townsville, experienced the “perfect storm” when they encountered two consecutive hard drive failures that resulted in 100 per cent data loss from their server, including the phone system.

The system failure left the business without access to data, emails or phones for six days. According to the principal, Shaun Podbury, it was a disaster they were not prepared for but one they feel they have learnt from.

“We were not prepared for a disaster of this kind and found ourselves making reactive decisions on the hop. We will be substantially better prepared for any future emergencies,” he said.

According to Stella Rose, the marketing and customer service manager at Coral Sea Property Management, there were warning signs before the crash occurred.

“We have learnt a lot from the crash and the message I would send other principals and agents is to listen to the warning signals on your computer when they pop up,” she told Real Estate Business.

“A lot of us are guilty of just clicking the close button when a message pops up without even reading.

“Take these warnings seriously and report it to your IT department.”

Since the failure occurred, the team at Coral Sea Property Management have created a contingency plan for the future, which includes backing up to a separate storage device every day.

“We had a lot of measures in place including two servers that were backed up every seven days but this meant we lost all that data,” Ms Rose said.

“After the crash we had a meeting and now we report every computer fault in writing to our IT department.”

Despite the six days without access to important data the company received only a few customer complaints, according to Mr Podbury.

“There are some excellent lessons here for anyone who relies heavily on technology for the day-to-day running of their business,” he said.

“As with all mistakes, you are not judged on the mistake or mistakes made but on how you respond to them.

“I will leave the final judgment on our performance to our owners and tenants but I do want to take this opportunity to thank my team.

“I am incredibly proud of how the team responded to this crisis and their performance under pressure was truly inspiring.”

 

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