(Re-) Covering your Assets

You’ve heard the cliché: there are two types of businesses in this world, those that have lost data, and those that will. When 30 gigs of valuable corporate information pull a Houdini and you don’t have current backups, there is an option besides chaining yourself into a vat of water: a data recovery service.

Below is a brief list of companies that will do their best to resuscitate your drive, and some things to consider next time your disk treats your data like a distant relative. Print it out and stick it next to your computers as a talisman.

Of course, a good backup-and-recovery policy is your best friend in case of drive failure or data loss. Is your policy adequately protecting your information?

Data Recovery Companies

ActionFront/DataRec: www.actionfront.com 800.563.1167

CBL Tech: www.cbltech.com 800.551.3917

Data Recovery Group: www.datarecoverygroup.com 888.462.3282

Disk Doctors: www.diskdoctors.com 800.347.5377

DriveSavers: www.drivesavers.com 800.440.1904

Lazarus: www.lazarus.com 800.341.3282

MDS Disk Service: www.mdsdiskservice.com 909.352.2425

OnTrack: www.ontrack.com 800.872.2599

Things to consider

  1. If your drive whines, clicks or screeches, shut down your machine immediately. These are potential signs of a head crash, maybe the worst type of drive failure around. Disconnect the drive, contact one of the companies on the list, and pray.
  2. Despite what you’ve heard, hitting, tapping or shaking a drive to get it working is not a good idea. Hard drives are delicate creatures, and a sharp blow can break the microscopic alignment among drive elements.
  3. If you accidentally delete files, stop working. The odds of getting your data back are best before you write new information to your drive. Use a file recovery program like Symantec’s Norton Utilities, and save recovered files to a different disk, or you may end up overwriting the very files you’re trying to recover. Ouch.
  4. These companies aren’t cheap. Most offer a free assessment, but you might pay as much as $8,000 to get your data back. Far cheaper is a reliable backup. Start by deciding how much work you’re willing to re-create after a data loss, and back up at least that often (I backup twice a day). You don’t have to get elaborate; even copying to a CD-ROM or another hard drive manually will suffice in a pinch.