How to Shop for Data Recovery

Data recovery is a niche industry; many people don’t know professional data recovery services even exist until they need them. This makes it hard to find a good data recovery service. Most people don’t know how to shop for data recovery, and aren’t looking around until they’re already in panic mode. This can make it hard to keep a cool head and ask the right questions.

Whether you’re dealing with a clicking hard drive, a dropped external drive, a broken USB thumb drive, a crashed server, an SSD that won’t boot, or any other kind of data loss situation, it’s important to be able to find a professional, reputable, and customer-friendly data recovery lab to recover your data. You want a company with a secure facility. It should employ trained engineers. It should be one that’s been doing good business long enough to build up a reputation for quality services. You want a data recovery service provider that provides financially risk-free data recovery services as well.

Data Recovery Buyer’s Guide—Questions to Ask When Shopping for Data Recovery

How to shop for data recovery

With the help of our data recovery buyer’s guide, you’ll know much more about how to shop for data recovery. When you’re in need of data recovery services, search for various providers and carefully appraise what they have to offer. Examine and compare what each data recovery service offers with the other companies on your list.

How to Shop for Data Recovery

When you shop for a data recovery service provider, there are a few questions you should be hoping to answer. You want to know what their facility is like, what their staff is like, how long they’ve been around, and what third parties recommend them. Keep these questions in mind and you will have much improved chances of choosing a reliable and professional data recovery service when you shop for data recovery:

What does their facility look like?

Now, you can’t always judge a book by its cover. But what a data recovery business looks like on Google Maps can tell you a lot about the quality of its services. If you take a look at a data recovery company’s address and it leads to a UPS store or somebody’s house, you’re not looking at a world-class data recovery lab.

A lot of great and revolutionary tech startups have started out in someone’s garage or basement. But you can’t run a world-class lab out of your house. Even if a garage or basement lab has a proper cleanroom workbench set up, there’s little room for tools, hard drives to serve as parts donors, and other equipment. And while a home tends to be thought of as one’s ultimate sanctuary, a professional data recovery facility is just about guaranteed to be a more secure place for you to send your data. Any nascent data recovery startup that knows what it’s doing outgrows the basement lab pretty quickly.

Do they have a staff of data recovery engineers?

Professional data recovery isn’t a one- or two-man operation. You can check on sites like Manta for information on how many employees a data recovery business might have. Sites like LinkedIn may even be able to provide you with more details about a data recovery company’s employees. You don’t need to stalk a business’s employees on social media. But you do want to know what kind of experience and credentials the folks at a data recovery lab have.

Data Recovery Company

In order to properly innovate and develop new and better methods for data recovery, a good data recovery lab needs skilled computer scientists and mechanical engineers leading the pack. Storage hardware manufacturers are constantly improving on their methods to store data. All of these new developments require new methods and tools for data recovery. A professional data recovery company needs a team of well-educated computer scientists capable of rising to the occasion. You should also be on the lookout for people with experience in mechanical and electrical engineering.

How long have they been in business?

If a data recovery lab has stuck around for years and years, it must be doing something right. If a business offering data recovery services doesn’t tell you outright how long they’ve been around on their website, you can do some online sleuthing to find out.

You can find information on a data recovery company by going to the Secretary of State website for the company’s home state. The exact method and way records are stored differs from state to state, but the general gist is the same. On the Secretary of State website, you can search for business records, including when a business was founded.

For example, Wisconsin’s Secretary of State page sends you to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. From there, you can search for “Gillware” and see the date of our incorporation (May 25, 2004).

What third parties recommend them?

Better Business Bureau Accredited Business logoProfessional data recovery labs know how important it is to reach out and set up partnerships. For a lab that performs high-quality services, its professional recommendations will often speak for themselves.

For example, you’ll find Gillware listed, along with other data recovery labs, by businesses like Western Digital and Dell as preferred, recommended, and trusted data recovery service providers. We also have a network of IT consultants, managed service providers, and computer repair experts who happily send people in need of data recovery services our way. Our partners know through experience our track record of success and customer satisfaction.

You can get another gauge of a data recovery business’s quality by looking them up in the Better Business Bureau. The BBB is an independent, nonprofit organization that helps mediate business-customer disputes and grades the trustworthiness of businesses on an A-F scale. Think of it like a business’s “report card”. It’s not a perfect metric, but it’s one more thing to keep in mind when shopping around for data recovery.

What an Ideal Data Recovery Service Should Offer

When you’re looking for a data recovery service, there are a few things you want to make sure it provides.

First and foremost, you’re looking for a data recovery lab that can (hopefully) get the job done. A data recovery company can give you a good idea about the quality of its services and its capabilities as a service provider by sharing case studies and informational content about data recovery on its website.

When you shop for data recovery, you also want to look for affordable and customer-friendly pricing. Perhaps most important is how secure their data recovery facilities are.

Are Their Data Recovery Services Financially Risk-Free?

Calculating Data Recovery CostWhen you’re shopping for data recovery services, you want to make sure the services they provide are financially risk-free. In other words, you want a customer-friendly data recovery lab that will clearly lay out all of the costs involved in their work and give you a chance to say “yes” or “no”—before they charge you a dime.

This means free evaluations, and maybe even free inbound shipping by way of a prepaid shipping label. The point of an evaluation is for professional data recovery experts to accurately assess your data recovery needs and determine what kind of work will have to go into your case to achieve positive results. At the end of a data recovery evaluation, a professional lab should be capable of giving you a firm price quote and a probability of success.

The results of the evaluation should run down exactly how much your data recovery case will cost. This doesn’t just include the cost of the labor itself. It should also include the cost of returning the data back to you. You should also be looking for a lab that won’t charge you any “penalty” fees if, after the evaluation, you choose to say “no” to any further work.

Unfortunately, not all data recovery cases are solvable. A data recovery service that offers financially risk-free data recovery also won’t charge you if they can’t recover your data. A financially risk-free data recovery service provider should work with you to clearly define your goals. They should work to fulfill those goals without financial risk on your part. Its customers should have peace of mind knowing that unsuccessful work won’t put a dent in their bank accounts.

Are Their Data Recovery Facilities Secure?

Security is a major bellwether of a data recovery company’s professionalism and quality. If a data recovery company can’t be bothered to take measures to keep its customers’ data safe, it probably can’t be bothered to do much else right. A secure data recovery business subjects its data recovery facilities to internal and/or external audits. It makes sure its staff are trained to follow IT security guidelines. It does whatever it can to ensure that a customer’s recovered data can’t fall into the wrong hands.

While you shop for data recovery, make a note about what each provider says about their security. Things like SOC 2 certifications and GSA contracts aren’t just handed out like candy. They’re earned by labs who put hard work into following all the appropriate security measures in their facilities. And any data recovery business that has earned these credentials will want to flaunt them with pride.

Do They Charge Per-Gigabyte or Flat-Rate for Data Recovery Services?

How much does data recovery cost?” is a good question to ask when you shop for data recovery. When shopping for a data recovery service provider, you want to choose a company whose services are both affordable as well as reasonably-priced considering the amount of work that goes into data recovery.

Per-gigabyte or flat-rate data recovery pricing may sound enticing. But these pricing schemes for data recovery work are actually a huge red flag for anybody on the market for a data recovery service provider. For a capable and professional data recovery lab, these pricing schemes simply are not sustainable. Data recovery service providers operating under these pricing models tend to lack much of the skills, facilities, and resources of professional data recovery labs. These providers usually can only successfully fix a small subset of hard drive problems, and pronounce any other data loss situation as “too severe” to recover data from.

Location, Location, Location—Why Location Doesn’t Matter in Choosing a Data Recovery Lab

Where is the data recovery lab you’re looking at located?

This is one question you don’t need to ask. It doesn’t make much of a difference where a data recovery lab is. When you’re looking for a data recovery service provider, how close the lab is to you should be one of the least of your concerns. You can’t count on a lab to provide better service or a quicker turnaround just because they’re geographically closer to you.

The idea of shipping a broken hard drive cross-country may be nerve-wracking; it’s actually quite easy, though, to safely ship a hard drive in the mail. You just need to make sure it’s snugly packed and has sufficient padding. Some data recovery service providers may even offer to send you appropriate shipping supplies for free, along with a free shipping label.

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