What makes a good Data Recovery Cleanroom? | Ontrack

Friday, 6 March 2015 by Paul Le Messurier

How to Assess the Quality & Security of a Cleanroom - 7 Questions to Ask

Make sure you properly evaluate your data recovery provider. You usually have only one opportunity to get your data back, so give yourself the best possible chance of a successful recovery:

1. What industry standards does their cleanroom follow?

Don’t rely on images or video of technicians walking around in cleanroom suits or showing one neatly arranged workspace. Verify the type of airflow system and make sure there is a laminar air flow system in place. These systems use special HEPA filters (high efficiency particulate arrestance filters) that filter out suspended particles only 0.5 micrometres in diameter.

2. What is the total work area of all their cleanroom benches and how many workstations do they have?

Many companies claim to have a cleanroom, but what is really relevant is the total surface of clean benches and number of workstations. The amount a clean working space and number of workstations increases the number of jobs an engineer can work on. Many companies show an image of a single clean cabinet without a workstation. Whereas the advantages of a large clean area are:

  • economies of scale
  • lower cost
  • faster recovery times
  • more experienced technicians
  • higher success rate

3. Do they have both hardware and software research and development engineers on staff developing your own proprietary solutions?

The web is awash with off-the-shelf data recovery tools so it is easy to set up a data recovery business and give data recovery a try. Verify what tools are used and how competent the engineers are. A good data recovery tool in the wrong hands is still a recipe for disaster. Look for a company that shows a consistent and proven pedigree in developing their own recovery tools and techniques.

4. How do they image data from a damaged drive?

Make sure your data recovery company works from an image of the data. Verify the company uses a safe system to image the data. Make sure your data is disposed of in a secure and verifiable way.

5. How do you ensure data security, privacy and integrity of my data?

Ask for the size and setup of the data recovery and data storage facility. Verify capacity, how the data is secured and how the physical security is ensured. Are the data recovery facilities monitored? Where is your data stored? A simple search and street view check will reveal a lot about your vendor.

6. How many years of experience do their data recovery engineers have?

How many engineers work at the company? It takes many years to train a data recovery engineer in house, and many more for them to specialise in specific media. Ask your data recovery provider about their engineering training programme and how they undertake their R&D into new and ever-changing data storage technology.

7. Are they authorised by any hardware vendor, does their work void warranties?

Make sure the work of your chosen data recovery company does not void product warranties. If your device or storage medium is still in warranty, always check with the manufacturer what data recovery service providers they recommend.

Don't fall in the trap!

It is easy to look for the cheapest option especially when encountering an unplanned expenditure such as a data loss and recovery, however, there is no point spending the money in the first place if you don't give yourself a decent the chance of a successful recovery by not using a provider that can confidently and satisfactorily answer the questions above.