When to Call the Experts - Five Tips for Data Recovery
By David Zimmerman, CEO of LC Technology
Data loss can cripple a business, whether it's an enterprise firm or a small company. When the data loss is due to failure of a physical device or corruption (instead of a breach), companies have limited options. They can task someone in IT with a "DIY approach" to restore from backup, try to find and repair the data, accept the loss and move on, or they can employ the services of a qualified data recovery specialist.
The first line of defense to prevent non-breach data loss is to create a formal data management plan. Written plans are best because they introduce accountability and direction to the process. The plan should detail the role of every person in the organization in terms of data sharing, storage, management, and overall usage. Different access and sharing rights should be set based on the staff person's role and adjusted in such a way to allow them to obtain the information they need, but to protect the most sensitive information such as customer data.
Redundant backups are a core part of the formal data management plan. Storage on cloud platforms such as AWS and Google are exceedingly cheap and secure and provide companies of any size with a variety of scalable and cost-effective options. Movement to the cloud removes the risks of broken laptops, lost thumb drives, and spilled coffee on the desktop. When those events occur, and the company has proactively put data in the cloud, then they're simply annoyances instead of damaging.
Despite the "best laid plans", companies are still run by people, and people make mistakes. A power supply issue might short out a laptop. A worker in the field might drop their laptop in the dirt and not be able to boot it up to access new sales contracts. When an issue happens, and locally-stored data must be retrieved, then data recovery is the only option. Here are five expert tips for finding and using a reputable data recovery firm:
1. Reputation Matters
If you have a corrupt drive, then you might do a Google search and find online free software programs that promise to quickly fix your data. Avoid these like the plague as they often contain malware and key loggers that can infect your entire system. You need a real recovery company and have to pick one with a quality reputation. A good recovery firm will provide multiple references, be well reviewed, and be transparently forthcoming about any questions or concerns. You need an experienced recovery firm that has personnel expertise and the right technology tools to handle any type of issue.
2. Certifications are Essential.
Industry certifications don't provide a 100 percent guarantee, but they're certainly a good sign of competency. Check the certifications of prospect recovery firms to ensure they follow best practices for security and handling of data. You can't risk turning over customer data contained in a broken laptop only to have the recovery firm experience a data breach that exposes your info to the public. Ask for proof of various industry certifications before you engage a recovery firm.
3. SSD Expertise is Vital.
Recovering data from a traditional laptop hard drive is straightforward. Unscrew the case, crack it open, and then access or remove the drive. Modern laptops are trickier because they're typically built with SSD drives. These machines are very thin, and often the case is inaccessible. The SSD itself might also appear to be permanently affixed to the computer board, making it difficult to remove without causing further damage. Recovering data from a SSD isn't impossible, but it does require expert care. Talk to your recovery firm to be sure they are adept at handling SSD drives.
4. Multiple Capabilities are Key.
The modern worker might use their laptop at home, a desktop at the office, and their phone or tablet at a conference. Each device and each capturing or creating of data means more risks for data loss. Recovering data effectively relies on understanding how to deal with any type of device and any conditions. It's important to know if your chosen recovery firm can handle any issue - from a water-logged laptop to a broken USB drive and everything in between. Picking a firm with multiple capabilities means you can trust one outfit to handle all of your data recovery projects, which streamlines the process and reduces the risks of data mishandling.
5. Customer Service Matters.
If you are choosing between two recovery firms who have similar capabilities and decent reputations, then go with the best service provider. Look carefully at online reviews for each firm to spot any phrasing such as "unresponsive" or "argumentative." Instead, you want a firm that transparently and quickly provides answers and updates. The very best recovery firms can become (hopefully infrequently) used partners due to their service. They'll set reasonable deadlines, communicate pricing, and quickly relay any unexpected complications. Your data and possibly your reputation is at stake, so pick a firm that takes their role seriously in getting you the information you need so you can return to business.
Although data recovery with a respected firm does provide the highest odds of success, it should be considered a "last ditch" method. Loss events can be largely prevented by adopting best practices for data protection and backups. When data recovery is the only resort, then following these five tips for picking a trusted partner will be invaluable.
LC Technology International, Inc. (http://www.LC-Tech.com) is a global leader in data recovery, file system utilities and data security technology. Clients include original equipment manufacturers, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, corporate security specialists and IT consultants, among others. Available worldwide and published in more than 24 different languages, LC Technology products are available direct or through several major manufacturers of flash memory products. Founded in 1997, LC Technology is based in Clearwater, Florida.