Updated: Oct 6
The data recovery industry has changed significantly over the past few years and we appreciate how hard it might be to choose a data recovery company. It is unfortunate that some data recovery companies do not actually recover data, they are merely marketers who send your failed media to a third party. Data recovery companies generally fall into three categories and we hope that the following information will help you to assess who is best to recover your data.
We have also detailed below a list of questions you might want to ask a data recovery company when you call them. This will help you decide who best fits your data recovery needs.
Large Data Recovery Companies: These are multi-national companies who have many employees and several worldwide locations. Pros: – Most of the larger companies have a R&D department, so if you have an unusual data recovery request such as a highly unusual file systems, then these companies may be able to help you. – They have extensive experience and have contacts with hard drive manufacturers. Cons: – They are very expensive, often 3 or 4 times the price of a smaller professional data recovery companies. – Your media will need to be shipped to them. – Data recovery is generally very slow (several weeks/months) unless you pay an additional fee. – Time vs. work involved. If the recovery will take a long time to complete they would rather deem it unrecoverable and move onto the next job. – They are not perfect. We have had hard drives here that have been to a major data recovery company and deemed unrecoverable. With a little time and effort we have been able to recover the data.
Smaller Professional Data Recovery Companies: These fall into two categories, and it is important to distinguish between the two. 1. Local: – These companies have a physical location in the geographical area they specialize in. – They have one physical location and have no pretense about it. – Most have regular opening hours, a client service team and an office you can visit. Pros: – These companies have the tools and experience to recovery data from pretty much any failed media. – They have invested heavily in education and equipment. For example, Desert Data Recovery has 4 PC-3000 Professional Data Recovery Systems, 2 Deepspar Disk Imagers, Visual NAND Reconstructor, RAID Reconstruction System, Cleanroom facilities and our technicians have received extensive training on each of these pieces of equipment. – They can effectively evaluate failed media without causing more damage. – They are ‘full-service’ and are able to recover data from all types of failed devices. – They have on-site cleanrooms for recovery of mechanically failed drives Cons: – Professionals can recover data from 97% of all failed media, but if your data recovery issue is unique, then a major company may be better for you. 2. National, but pretend to be Local: They have one physical location and have ‘drop off’ locations throughout the US. If you choose one of these companies your failed media will be shipped across the country. Make sure you ask if they are physically based at the location you are calling.
The Others: Technology Companies: Many offer basic data recovery services such as deleted file recovery. It is important to know the limitations of these companies when deciding if they are right for you. It is possible they will do more damage to your media. Data Recovery Marketing Companies: Many companies who market themselves as ‘data recovery experts’ are merely a marketing service. They receive you failed media and pass it along to another data recovery company. This results in additional shipping of your media, more time to recover the data and increased data recovery as they also make a ‘margin’ on the recovery. Too Good To Be True: These companies try a ‘bait and switch’ approach. They will ‘estimate’ the recovery of your media to be lower in cost over the phone, but when they receive your media, you find out the ‘low cost’ estimate suddenly turns out to be several times the price once the recovery is underway. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Questions to Ask Your Data Recovery Company: Do they complete the data recovery at the location listed on their website? – If they say they do, ask to visit the office. Many data recovery companies have nationwide drop off locations, but only one physical location and your media could be shipped to the other side of the county. Do they recovery ALL data at their location, or do they use third parties? – Small data recovery companies outsource recoveries to larger companies which increases shipping times, recovery times and costs to you. Do they have on on-site cleanroom/booth? – This is essential for data recovery from mechanically failed drives. Without diagnosing the issues first, a mechanically failed drive can be rendered unrecoverable if the drive is not inspected before trying to recover data. – Do they sound like they know what they are talking about? – During your phone conversation is the company genuinely trying to answer your questions, or desperate to get you to send in your drive?
Tim Homer - Desert Data Recovery