How to choose a data recovery company

01 February 2013 by Robert Winter

Data loss is a real concern for many businesses and it’s critical that a backup plan is in place to deal with unexpected problems.  Part of the plan should include the name of a data recovery provider that companies can rely on when they can’t manage a crisis themselves.

Indeed, choosing the right data recovery provider before data loss occurs can be the only chance that companies have in getting their data back.  But with so many to choose from it's hard to know which provider to trust with valuable information.

Many data recovery websites look professional and make reassuring promises, but delivering on those promises cannot be guaranteed unless the provider meets very specific criteria. Making the right choice requires asking the right questions.

Of crucial importance is determining whether the data recovery company can solve a wide variety of data loss emergencies. This is important since prompt intervention following a disaster can often lead to a successful recovery.  At a minimum, it is vital to check whether the provider supports the device and operating system in need of data recovery. If so, can a highly qualified team be ready for action at short notice?

Having accredited engineers performing a recovery is paramount to success, since the growing complexity of storage platforms is increasing the complexity of data recovery when things go wrong. Only providers that invest in research and development are in a position to have the skills to recover data from emerging and newer storage media. Here are some important questions to ask:

  • Can the engineers recover data from any type of storage platform?
  • Can they recover any type of data?
  • Do they have recognised certification for data security, handling, processes and staffing standards?

Equally important is assessing whether the data recovery company has invested in the right equipment to recover data. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Can the provider retrieve client data from bespoke storage systems?
  • Do they operate within a secure, clean room environment?
  • Do they have available parts to deal with emergency recoveries?

Asking the following questions can also uncover the experience of the data provider:

  • How long has the provider been in the data recovery business
  • How much data has the provider successfully recovered?
  • Does the provider have case study references?
  • Does the provider have a secure, online portal that enables customers to access recoverable files and track the status and progress of data recoveries?

Given the effort required to find a data recovery provider it’s no surprise that many businesses turn to computer or storage device manufacturers for help. As creators of the devices, manufacturers are perceived as the best qualified to recover data. However, equipment manufacturers expect businesses to have an available backup for critical data and are not geared up to manage complicated recoveries and guarantee success. In reality, complex recoveries always require specialised expertise beyond that particular manufacturer’s system or device.

At a glance it can be hard to separate a reputable, skilled provider from those that can -often inadvertently- further damage data or systems, but asking the right questions will help shed light on the reality of the business - that very few providers have what it takes to get valuable data back safely.


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