Stick with genuinely local services
There are two reasons for sticking with local services. The first is that it cuts down the distance your HDD has to travel and therefore reduces the possibility of it being further damaged or stolen. This last possibility should not be discounted, since data that is worth paying to recover presumably has a financial value to the company and hence could be worth stealing.
The second is that it makes sure that you have effective recourse in the event of any contractual issues, for example, the HDD data recovery service managing to recover your data but then having it compromised through a breach of their network security. If you go with a service that operates in another area, your contract with them will generally say that their local courts have jurisdiction over any disputes. This might not be at all convenient for you.
Thirdly, it means that you will have (fairly) straightforward legal recourse in the event of a dispute. Most companies have a policy of insisting that disputes are settled under their local laws and by their courts, which can make it more challenging to get a resolution if something goes wrong.
The reason we emphasize that you need to look for genuinely local services is that there is a fairly widespread practice of listing drop-off locations or basic customer service points as though they were data recovery centers. In simple terms, the more locations an HDD data recovery service lists, the more likely it is that a high percentage of them are just places to leave a hard disk to be forwarded to the main data recovery lab or, at best, places which can run some basic diagnostics and perhaps undertake some low-level repairs using standard software tools.
Check that their premises meet acceptable standards
Another advantage of sticking with local services is that is much easier for you to confirm exactly where the premises are located and what that suggests in practical terms. For example, does it look like business premises (as opposed to a private house)? Is it in a location where there is minimal threat of it being damaged by environmental issues or civil unrest? Is there effective external security?
You also want to check that the data recovery service has an acceptable level of hygiene, which, for practical purposes, means ISO 5 Cleanroom or better (some data recovery labs now operate to ISO 4 Cleanroom, although ISO 5 Cleanroom is still the industry standard).
If you have a Mac HDD (or an SSD) confirm that these can be processed
For obvious reasons, the mainstay of HDD data recovery services is hard disks running Windows and some versions of Linux (for servers). If you have a Mac HDD (or an SSD), it’s a good idea to ask specifically if these can be treated before you hand them over as this can save delays and frustration.
Choose an HDD data recovery service that bills on results
Billing on results is generally a sensible approach at the best of times and is particularly to be recommended when dealing with HDD data recovery. The reason for this is that in HDD data recovery, your first shot is almost always your best shot. It is often your only realistic shot. This means that the last thing you want to do is waste it on a company that will “have a go” and then charge you regardless of the outcome.
You also want to avoid situations where you could be setting yourself up for a level of financial liability which massively exceeds the value of the data.
Ideally, what you would like is a free, no-obligation diagnosis and quote, which is only to be charged if the HDD data recovery service does recover the percentage of data they say they can in the agreed time frame. The fees charged are often variable depending on the speed with which you need the data, but they should only ever be charged if the recovery operation is a success.
As a final point, you need to confirm how your data will be returned to you. For example, will it be on another hard drive or electronically? You also want to make sure that the HDD data recovery service will keep a copy of it until you have confirmed that all is well.
If you want to speak to a reputable HDD data recovery service, please click here now to contact Aperio.IT.