Through your eyes: Soothing users panicking over lost data

Nine network pros give first-person accounts of working through tough situations.

Diane Weigel: Technical support services manager, Sodexho, a $6 billion food service and facility management company in Gaithersburg, Md.

Soothing users panicking over lost data

Diane Weigel

Technical support services manager, Sodexho, a $6 billion food service and facility management company in Gaithersburg, Md.

I've been at Sodexho 14 years, eight of them on the help desk. We support people in thousands of locations, and everything is done remotely.

Two years ago, we had an executive who mistakenly drove over his laptop. It's become one of those stories you tell in a whisper because it's so painful whether you experienced it or just heard about it. Another time, we had someone who arrived home for the day, and as he exited his vehicle, the parking brake didn't hold. He watched his car roll down the driveway and into the lake with his laptop still in the car.

Diane Weigel

A situation like this, where you know you're not going to be able to take the hard drive and send it off to a data-recovery site, is difficult. You're really part therapist - listening to what happened and reassuring the person about what you can do to help. You can give the tech part of the job to anyone, but taking care of people is something you have to feel and breathe.

Now most newly issued laptops at Sodexho have Evault [remote back-up software] on them. It's a comfort - if someone loses a laptop, we have data electronically that we just bring down to a new machine. But it's awkward; you try and be as honest as you can, and you never make promises. When you know there's been data loss, you begin with a zero level of promise that you're going to be able to fix it and 100% promise that you'll do everything you can.

- As told to Mary Brandel

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