Choosing a data recovery company
Choosing the right data recovery company
When you experience a data loss situation it can be incredibly stressful. Whether it is lost or deleted photos, college work or information critical to your business, you want to get it sorted quickly, cost effectively and with the least hassle possible.
Choosing the right data recovery company is important to ensure you have the best chance of getting your data back and at a fair and reasonable price. You may or may not have experienced lost or inaccessible data before, if you are new to the world of data recovery here is our guide to help you choose the right company.
Obviously as a data recovery company we are here to promote our own data recovery service, but if for whatever reason we are not your first choice, hopefully this guide will provide you some valuable information in deciding which companies to approach and those to avoid.
To help out we’ve also compiled a list of ‘Data Recovery terminology’ to help you understand any communications that you will have with the company.
Some things to look out for
When looking at a data recovery service provider, it is well worth looking at reviews of the company. It is possible to fake reviews and some companies will do this to boost ratings. Independent reviews sites are not always the best place to look as these are much easier to manipulate. Google reviews, Facebook reviews and to a certain extent Yell are harder to fake. Reading these you will soon get a good idea if they are genuine or not. Short or impersonal reviews are often a tell-tale sign as are large volumes of reviews posted in a short period of time.
Quality presence online
The website of a good data recovery company should give you all the answers you need upfront. If the language is vague or the content poor, then definitely approach it with some trepidation. A good company will ensure that the customer’s experience is a good one from the first point of contact.
Trust and transparency
Whether it is details on a website or communication by email or by phone, you should expect transparency from the outset. You should be provided will full details of how the service works and a price structure, with at the very least a worst case scenario costing.
Data recovery companies vary greatly in their pricing structures. Be wary of companies that do not provide any suggestion of pricing or offer a quote on request. The industry is changing and many companies are moving over to fixed-pricing structures so that you will know exactly how much you may be charged.
Due to the nature of data recovery and the huge number of faults that can occur, it is acceptable that a company may not be able to give you a single fixed quote until the drive/device has been assessed.
Faults can range from simple software fixes all the way to heavily involved engineering tasks. Either way there should always be a limitation on what you might pay. This information should ideally be available to you prior to you accepting the service. You should never feel your data is being held to ransom over unseen costs.
Things to help make your decision
Contact the company
Either give them a call or send them an email. Most companies will be more than happy to answer questions and explain the process without pressuring you into using their service. Contact a few companies and see which ones are professional, open and helpful.
If it’s a good company they will generally ask you questions about the nature of the data loss. This gives you the best assessment of the situation and also ensures the best chance of recovering your data.
Ask plenty of questions
Prepare some questions you want answered, for example you may want to ask about prices, time scales, data security etc.
It’s also worth having some details on hand to provide to the company, including details of the fault, the operating system and a note of your most important files and folders.
Data recovery attempts to save all of you data, but in the event that the device fails before this is complete, some companies will target your most important data first.
Check on their website or ask them what experience they have in the data recovery industry. Your research into reviews will also give some good clues as to how experienced and professional they are.
Things to be wary of
There is nothing at all wrong with paid advertising such as ads on Google and Facebook and many reputable companies do this all the time, it’s a great way to get the word out there. Do remember though that having paid advertising doesn’t mean it is a great service, it just means that company has paid for advertising.
Lack of pricing
While it is true that each recovery is unique, it is still possible to provide best and worst case scenario pricing from the information that you provide. It has been known within the industry for companies to inflate costs depending on how valuable they believe the data is to you.
Most standard products, hard drives, USB drives, SD Cards do have common faults and fixes so they should be able to provide a fixed price structure. You just have to ask yourself the question, why are they not being upfront about pricing? See how this fits in with what else you’ve learnt about the company.
The hard sell
If you contact a company and they try the hard sell with numerous follow up calls, be cautious. You have every right to shop around until you are happy with your choice of data recovery service provider.
Beware of guarantees
It is incredibly difficult to say how long a recovery will take and how much of the data will be recoverable until the recovery is actually complete, so beware of anyone guaranteeing a timescale.
The time it takes will depend on the type and severity of the fault/problem. It also depends on the number and size of the files that need to be recovered. Straight forward software recoveries can be a little easier to estimate, with hardware faults sometimes the recovery process can take much longer and this can’t be rushed or sped up. If a hard drive is severely damaged then every caution must be taken to ensure as much data as possible is saved.
There is no way to know how much data can be retrieved until the recovery is complete. So if a company is offering to charge you for a listing of data that they can recovery, they may have already attempted the recovery. This file listing will only be available once a recovery is complete.
Some companies appear to be larger than they are with offices across the UK. More often than not these are just postal or drop off location not a dedicated recovery centre/lab.
Data recovery is not taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, it is therefore not a magical art. It is just engineering backed with experience, great skills and the right tools for the job. This should allow companies to provide you with fixed and reasonable pricing.
Look for open and honest suppliers who strive to communicate at a level you understand and that you can base an informed decision on.