Data recovery services are one of the three natural expansion paths for computer service businesses (the other two being mobile device repair and business IT services). Unlike the other two, information retrieval has a high financial barrier of entry. That’s because storage devices that have failed are usually unreadable by a computer. Indeed, a motherboard knows to communicate with healthy devices but is not even remotely equipped to navigate defective drives. As a result, there are three types of equipment necessary to even have the means to provide this service.
The first is a set of desktop computers with data recovery software. Theses are used to transfer data between healthy drives and manipulate data if necessary. For example, these computers will help retrieve photos and documents that have been deleted or find partitions that have been lost due to formatting or other high level issues. We also use these to transfer data from recovery drives to destination drives. Most computer shops can provide this sort of service.
The second level of service is what we call an advanced recovery. It provides access to failing drives and gives the technician the means to analyze the failure and read the drive in the safest way possible given the damage. You will need a disk imager and a forensic analysis tool such as PC3000 to work with drives that need an advanced recovery. They allow you to do anything from building a heads map to repairing or reconfiguring device firmware. The starter packages for each unit will cost at least $8000 and add-ons will be required to manage the workflow and work with as many devices as possible (including USB interface only drives).
The final level of service is clean room recovery. When drives suffer physical trauma, they need to be opened in a dust free environment where a careful hardware swap can take place to restore functionality to the drive. Once healthy again for reading, even if temporarily, the drive is moved to the advanced recovery station to read as much data as possible. An ISO class 5 workbench is required because so much as a spec of minuscule dust could permanently ruin a hard drive. These are also the most expensive recoveries as they require expensive parts, a professional recovery lab and an experienced engineer to navigate the repair and retrieval.
Unfortunately, few organizations provide training in the data recovery field. On the other hand, self training is often impossible due to the financial burden of purchasing the equipment necessary and the high likelyhood of destroying dozens and dozens of drives while attempting to disassemble them.
It is important to develop a standardized workflow and organization method when processing a drive for recovery. From diagnostic to final transfer, drives are likely to move back and forth between various stations to complete each part of the retrieval. Technicians should be constantly verifying the health and speed of the recovery and double checking the integrity of the recovered media. Whenever possible, a recovered file list should be provided to the client for review to avoid costly repeat work.
As usual, if you have any questions about the process, feel free to reach out to our rockville data recovery service.