If you have found yourself in the unenviable position of requiring a data recovery specialist, the internet can seem like a minefield. With a myriad of data recovery companies to choose from, what are the main criteria to consider when making your choice?
Firstly, talk to the company on the phone. Do they sound like the kind of people you wish to entrust your data to? Good customer service goes an awfully long way, the company should be happy to answer your questions and explain in non-technical language what their processes are.
Secondly, do they recover the data in house? There are many people who claim to be data recovery experts, but the proof is in the pudding and you should ideally look for a data recovery which is fully equipped and has their own clean chamber facilities. Mechanically failed drives will have to be opened and this should always be opened and worked on in Class 100 clean conditions. Anything less can introduce contamination to the drive and drastically reduce recoverability, and in some instances can cause irreversible damage, rendering your data lost forever.
Thirdly, you should look for a company which offers a free inspection of your device. Whether it is a USB flash drive or a multi disk RAID array, any data recovery company worth their salt will be able to assess your item and diagnose the fault, based on their extensive experience. Some might say there’s no such thing as free, but a good data recovery company that wants to work with you will generally not take a fee for this.
Once the company has thoroughly inspected your drive or other media, they should then provide you with a free quotation along with a detailed diagnosis in writing (via email is fine) so you can make an informed decision as to whether you wish to proceed. The quotation should be itemised, accurate and not subject to change. It should also be non-obligatory, so if you decide it’s not for you, then you are not held to ransom and have the option of declining politely.
It should be pointed out here that specialist data recovery is not a service that comes cheaply; it very often requires time-consuming and intricate procedures, intense skills often some in-house research and development to replace broken parts and manipulate the firmware of your failing device, so you are therefore paying for the company’s skills, expertise and time to recover your irreplaceable data, which in some complicated cases can take more than a few days to complete.
Another incredibly important thing to consider is whether the company offer a no-recovery, no fee scenario. Data recovery is not an exact science and sometimes, even with the best engineer and tools, drives are damaged beyond recovery. When a company offers a no-recovery, no fee option this means that if they are unable to recover your data then there is no fee to pay.
It is all too easy to get hung up on who can offer the best price or a “one price fits all”, but as this guide shows, when your data is at stake there are other, very important questions to ask to enable you to choose wisely.