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Finding a Data Recovery Service Provider

Author: Ong Li

The LED indicator light no longer works… there is a disturbing crackling noise emanating from the hard disk… accessing the hard disk is near impossible because it is unresponsive… these are all the telltale signs that your hard drive is spoilt. Sometimes all it takes is an accident —dropping the hard disk and causing ahead crash— to completely render the drive useless.

Your first instinct may be to rectify the problems on your own but you could be doing more damage if you do not possess the knowhow.  Your best bet would be to find a data recovery specialist. Yes, you would incur additional costs but you can enjoy the surety of getting your data back —if the damage is not too severe, of course.

Then comes the conundrum of having to find a reliable specialist. Data recovery service firms are a dime a dozen —not all of them are reputable. Here are some questions you can ask your vendors before deciding on one:

1)      What’s (and what’s not) in the price?

It is natural to want to seek the cheapest service. Now, cheap is not necessarily synonymous with mediocre. However, you will do well to probe your shortlisted vendors for their methods and the utilities they are using for data recovery. Are they using standard commercial utilities that even home users can get off the internet?

Also, what if they are unable to recover the data / only manage to partially recover it? Would you still be charged a fee? Get these details ironed out upfront.

2)      What is your policy on data confidentiality?

You could be using your hard drive to store all your important, classified business documents.  Would they outsource the assignment to other providers (this happens when they have a backlog of work)? Data leaks could happen as a result of this back and forth transferring.

3)      Do they have a clean room?

Dust particles are not visible to the naked eye but even a speck of it can contaminate your disk platter.  In the hard disk industry the clean room is a dedicated work area that is regulated in terms of air particles, temperature and humidity. This is where assembly processes are done too.

4)      What kind of qualifications or certifications do they have?

Knowing this is important because a rectifiable problem may become insurmountable in the hands of an inexperienced technician. Make sure you are dealing with qualified specialists.

5)      What do you mean by ‘a high success rate’?

Words like ‘best’, ‘most effective’, ‘90% success rate’ are just that: words. There is no way to verify the veracity of these claims —and if luck has it you might just fall into the 10% tier. Instead, ask your vendors about the success rate of recovering certain disk models. For example, the success rate of recovering data on a 2.5” notebook drive is higher than a 3.5” desktop drive. Know this so you would not inflate your expectations.

Be sure to ask these questions and make an informed decision before selecting a data recovery service provider.