Data Recovery Myths

From concerns over cost, system complexity, the importance of data protection and resource constraints, preconceived notions are hindering organizations and consumers from obtaining a successful data recovery and protecting their data from future loss. How do you know who to trust when everyone says the same thing?

Ontrack has combined the largest data recovery myths in order to dispel them once and for all and help you determine the provider that offers the highest level of professional services and overall best value.

Naivety: What you don’t know will come back to bite you.

  • Myth #1: This data recovery website looks professional, so this provider must be excellent at data recovery.


    Reality: Claiming to provide world-class results and achieving them are two very different things. When choosing a data recovery provider, you should be most concerned that they can recover data based on the storage device and scenario surrounding the data loss.

    At a minimum, it is critical to verify that a data recovery provider:

    • Supports your operating system and device
    • Operates an ISO-5/Class 100 cleanroom environment
    • Maintains spare parts for your hard drive available in-stock
    • Maintains SAS 70 Type II Certification for data recovery services
    • Maintains a comprehensive Information/Data Security Policy

     Anyone can claim to provide data recovery services. Ensure that your provider has:

    • Experience with both large and small data loss incidences
    • The engineering capabilities to recover deleted, corrupt, missing, or inaccessible data quickly and securely

    Ontrack’s Answer: A provider that invests in data recovery software, tools and processes will best be able to provide you with world-class results. Ontrack has over 1,400 years of combined data recovery experience and has performed more than 500,000 data recoveries since 1987. We also have 153,300 spare parts in our worldwide inventory to ensure you get your device back quickly. Moreover, Ontrack maintains a comprehensive Information Security Policy and completes an annual SAS 70 Type II Certification audit for data recovery services.  A SAS 70 Type II audit represents that an organization has been through an in-depth independent audit of their control objectives and activities.

  • Myth #2: I’m working directly with my computer or storage device manufacturer because they are best qualified to recover data from their own devices.


    Reality: Not true. Manufacturers want to get you up and running as quickly as possible and in many cases will presume you have an available backup of your critical data. Moreover, many manufacturers only support the most recent generation of a device; devices which are out of warranty are not usually supported. In addition, manufacturers are generally not experts in data loss corruption, specialized data recovery techniques or the thousands of different file, data structures and formats, not to mention the different e-mail and database types.

    When selecting a data recovery provider, it’s critical to make sure they:

    • Support your operating system and device
    • Operate an ISO-5/Class 100 cleanroom environment
    • Maintain SAS 70 Type II Certification for data recovery services
    • Maintain spare parts for your device that are available in-stock
    • Maintain an agreement with the device manufacturer so that your product warranty stays intact
    • Maintain a research and development team that can quickly develop solutions for unique data loss situations across legacy and new computer systems and devices

    Ontrack’s Answer: Manufacturers are experts in providing quality systems and devices; not necessarily data recovery services or the expertise to recover from thousands of different file, data structures and formats available. Ontrack has proprietary data recovery tools and techniques as well as the capability to quickly develop solutions to recover data from legacy or new computer systems and devices. We are also authorized by all major hardware device manufacturers to maintain warranties. In fact, we’re the only approved data recovery provider for Apple® systems outside of the US.

  • Myth #3: I have never experienced significant hardware failure or data loss; therefore I don’t need to be proactive about data loss.


    Reality: Pictures, music and sensitive personal and financial information can be unintentionally lost with disastrous consequences. Just as you would buy insurance to protect your house from fire or flood, the same holds true for the data on your mobile, laptop and desktop devices, hard drives, memory cards and flash drives.

    Considering that at least 25% of computer users worldwide experience data loss every year 1, it is critical that you consider finding a trusted data recovery provider.

    Ontrack’s Answer: Data loss can affect anyone, but too often people assume their data is safe because they have never had a data loss incident. Fortunately, there are a variety of service methods available to help assess and recover data, but being proactive about finding a data recovery provider in advance means you save time knowing you have a trusted partner to turn to when data loss occurs.

    When choosing a data recovery provider, it is critical to:

    • Verify they offer a vast array of recovery services, including do-it-yourself (DIY) software options to handle any data loss situation at an affordable price. Ontrack has the most extensive proprietary software and tools, including secure, do-it-yourself (DIY) software options.
    •  Ensure that the provider will give you immediate access to data recovery engineers. We do this.

    Confirm they offer real-time insight into where your data is, including the status of your recovery, quality of your recoverable files, job details and customer service information via secure online access. Ontrack offers this through its Ontrack® Online™ portal.

    1 Gartner report, 2012
  • Myth #4: My backup system is in place so I don’t need to worry about data loss.


    Reality: Unfortunately, having a backup system in place is not a fool-proof guarantee that your data will be secure in the event of a crisis. Despite your best efforts to prevent disasters with a backup system, data loss still happens due to:

    • Hardware failure
    • Human error
    • Software corruption
    • Computer viruses
    • Natural disasters

    Accidental deletion of files or database records, overwritten data, re-installment of software, and device upgrades are all common risks that consumers face when relying solely on a backup system to ensure the safety of data.  Additionally, many backups are not real-time and some of your critical data may not have been included in your most recent backup before the data loss has occurred.

    Ontrack’s Answer: Data loss is a common occurrence with current and backup storage systems (56% due to hardware failure and 26% due to human error) 1. If you realize the criticality of your data, don’t depend on your backup working, but test frequently and proactively plan ahead by already having a trusted provider selected.

    When choosing a provider, it is important to:

    • Verify they have significant data recovery engineering expertise and invest in dedicated research and development teams. Ontrack has combined data recovery experience of over 1,400 years.
    • Ensure their engineers are certified by major manufacturers. Our engineers are certified by major manufacturers such as Apple® and VMware®, among others.
    • Confirm they offer free consultations and provide you with a list of your recoverable data before you make a decision. Ontrack provides a free quote, consultation and a list of recoverable data via our Ontrack® Verifile™ data reports.

    Ensure the provider can recover from virtually any data loss incidence – virtual or physical. We have performed over 500,000 data recoveries since 1987 and recovered over 5 Petabytes of file data in just the past year – the equivalent of 100 Million 4-door filing cabinets full of text!

    1 Ontrack Data Recovery, 2011
  • Myth #5: SSD/Flash recoveries are the same as traditional hard drive recoveries.


    Reality: Data recovery from flash media storage has been on the rise as more consumers rely on this medium to store their electronic files. However, this trend has introduced new challenges in data recovery as these situations can be far more complex than hard drive recoveries due to:

    • The implementation of customized wear-leveling algorithms
    • Error correction code variables
    • The way data resides on an flash medium as compared to a traditional hard drive

    Additionally, industry standards for data layout and organization on flash mediums are not yet fully established, often requiring custom recovery solutions based on the specific manufacturer and model of the device.

    When choosing a data recovery provider, it is critical they possess:

    • Unique capabilities to successfully recover from flash media and invests in continuous research and development in this area 
    • Proprietary flash recovery techniques and an in-depth understanding of the media
    • Specialized processes that improve the quality of recovery

    Ontrack’s Answer: SSD/flash recoveries are extremely different than traditional hard drive recoveries and introduce challenges that not all data recovery providers can overcome. Ensure your data recovery provider is up to the challenge. Ontrack has been recovering from SSD media since 1995, and just introduced unique capabilities that dramatically shorten the recovery time to less than a quarter of the time typically required.

Cost: “Free” doesn’t mean cheap.

  • Myth #1: A data recovery company has an advertisement that promotes data recovery for only $350, which means this will be my only cost.


    Reality: If the price seems too good to be true, be wary and make sure you fully understand what is included in that price as it may be the starting price.  The actual price for data recovery is dependent on a variety of factors, including:

    • The amount of data that needs to be recovered
    • The difficulty of recovering the data
    • The condition of the data
    • If spare parts are needed

    Too often, consumers fall prey to the low cost offers due to budget constraints, but when faced with data loss, keep yourself (and your pocketbook) safe by reading the fine print and being your own advocate.

    Ontrack’s Answer: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is; don’t get stuck paying for something you don’t receive.

    To determine the right recovery method for you and your budget make sure you choose a transparent recovery provider that offers a free data consultation and lets you speak directly with a data recovery engineer. Ontrack does this for every case.

    Also, providers that truly value their customers will ensure their satisfaction by offering post-recovery support, such as:

    • Assistance when migrating recovered data back into your environment and 24/7 service. We do this.
    • Support in your native language. We offer support in 15+ languages.
    • Data security. We are SAS 70 Type II Certified and return recovered data in an encrypted format.
  • Myth #2: Getting a free data recovery evaluation means that I have nothing to lose.


    Reality: Not necessarily. Once you give your damaged drives to a recovery provider, you are risking the loss of data that could have otherwise been recovered if they don’t perform the recovery appropriately. With that said, make sure to do your homework before you hand over valuable devices.

    Ontrack’s Answer: Thoroughly research your data recovery provider. Everyone prefers free services, but in the case of data recovery, this should raise a red flag. A proper and efficient data analysis requires time and careful consideration to determine what data is recoverable and what is not. Improper treatment of drives may actually destroy your chance for a recovery, so vendors who advertise free evaluations are often bundling a diagnostic fee into the end price.

    Be wary of handing over valuable devices and information to a provider that doesn’t properly analyze your data or puts consideration into determining what data is recoverable. Ontrack has a SAS 70 Type II Certification for data recovery services that ensure security protocols and processes are in place to protect your data while it is at our locations.

  • Myth #3: There are plenty of low cost data recovery providers that can get the job done.


    Reality: Yes, there are a variety of low cost providers who simply throw up a website and claim to be world leaders in data recovery, making it easy to take advantage of the emotions at play when data loss happens. Often there is only one chance to recover data, so it pays to have the job done correctly the first time, and going with the cheapest option might eliminate your chances of recovery.

    To ensure your recovery is done correctly, choose a provider with:

    • Extensive experience and expertise
    • A vast array of proprietary software, tools and processes
    • Transparent pricing and processes
    • Post-recovery support, so you don’t get stuck in a bind
    • Formal security and process protocols so your data stays safe before, during and after the recovery

    Ontrack’s Answer: Low cost doesn’t equal quality, and with the amount of data more than doubling each year 1, and subsequently the number of data loss cases, it is critical to ensure the recoverability of your data with a provider before signing an order. Ontrack has performed over 500,000 jobs and is the data recovery provider that other data recovery companies turn to. We also give our customers a list of recoverable files before they make a purchase decision so they can see what data is recoverable, and are available 24/7 with support in 15+ languages.

    1 ICD Digital Universe, 2012
  • Myth #4: I want to shop around for the cheapest data recovery option because all data is recoverable regardless of the situation.


    Reality: Due to the complexity of storage media and data loss incidences, sensitive personal information, music and photos can be lost forever. The causes of data loss vary from simple to catastrophic, and include 1:

    • Hardware failure (56%)
    • Human error (26%)
    • Software error (9%)
    • Viruses (4%)
    • Natural disasters (2%)

    The variety of data loss causes make recovery even more difficult as no two cases are the same. When choosing a data recovery provider, it is imperative to select one that possesses:

    • Experience recovering data from all causes of data loss and from various types of sources
    • A high success rate
    • Industry-leading capabilities

    While some data recovery providers may tout cheap prices, you can’t put a value on sensitive or critical information.

    Ontrack’s Answer: In an idyllic world, 100% of data would be easily recovered no matter how or where it was lost. Unfortunately, the complexities of storage media and data loss incidences create situations where data cannot be recovered all of the time. And while some data recovery providers may tout cheap prices, you can’t put a value on sensitive or critical information. Ontrack recovered over 99% of mission-critical data from a melted, crashed and burned drive from the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia as well as data from Desert Storm in Kuwait, the famous Michelangelo virus and after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, among others.

    1 Ontrack Data Recovery, 2012

Resources: Not all data recovery is created equal.

  • Myth #1: Every data recovery provider is required to follow industry standards of handling proprietary or unique systems when assisting with data protection and security questions.


    Reality: Regardless of the scope of your recovery, you must ensure your chosen data recovery provider meets the highest industry and government standards. Very few data recovery providers have SAS 70 Type II Certification, ISO-5/Class 100 cleanroom environments, highly experienced engineers, and proprietary tools to address specific or complex recovery needs

    SAS 70 Type II Certification minimally should cover data/network/physical security, data handling, engineering processes and staffing standards.  A number of key attributes include:

    • The completion of pre-employment background checks and signed confidentiality agreements for all employees
    • Regular maintenance of a comprehensive Information/Data Security Policy
    • Restriction of access to the data recovery facility, network and data center via strict control, prevention and monitoring mechanisms
    • Maintaining full-time, in-house security staff and 24/7 real-time monitoring
    • The return of recovered data in an encrypted format

    Additionally, it is important that providers are authorized to handle highly sensitive data and adhere to US government protocols to ensure that your data never falls into the wrong hands.

    Ontrack’s Answer Before choosing a data recovery provider, consider if you want to take the risk of losing data that could’ve otherwise been restored or risk your data falling into the wrong hands. Ensure your provider takes the necessary precautionary measures to properly protect your data. Ontrack performs all data recoveries in an ISO-5/Class 100 cleanroom environment and maintains an annual SAS 70 Type II Certification that ensures strict standards for security, processes and staffing. Moreover, a comprehensive Information Security Policy is in place that covers all access control, data handling and data security protocols/standards.

  • Myth #2: Every data recovery provider will let me speak with the actual engineer working on my data loss.


    Reality: Surprise! Most data recovery providers won’t let you talk to their data recovery engineers - in fact, many providers won’t give you insight into what data is recoverable, so you end up purchasing a service method without having any control of what you’re actually getting back. Moreover, most providers force you to sort through any recovered data without post-recovery support, causing unforeseen headaches and the inability to ask valuable questions.

    When choosing a data recovery provider, it is critical to ensure:

    • You are able to speak with a data recovery engineer
    • They will work with you step-by-step, keeping you apprised of every phase of the recovery process
    • They offer transparent pricing to give you more control over your spend

    Ontrack’s Answer: If your data recovery provider won’t give you access to the actual engineer working on your data loss, run – don’t walk, and find one that will. In most cases, you only have one shot at getting your data recovered before it’s permanently lost; be your own advocate and insist on getting apprised of the data loss process and how to migrate recovered data back into your environment when the recovery is complete. Ontrack customers speak to our data recovery engineers and we keep customers apprised of their recovery via a secure, online portal where they are able view the status of their recovery in real time.

  • Myth #3: All data recovery providers will provide me with the necessary resources to make an informed decision on whether to move forward with a recovery.


    Reality: Not every provider gives potential customers the resources to make an informed decision about data recovery. A lot of information tends to be vague, so you often struggle with gaining clarity on what data you will actually get back, the quality of that data and the most cost-effective method of recovery.

    Make sure your recovery provider offers:

    • A free consultation to assess the data loss incident
    • A diagnostic report with a listing of your recoverable files
    • Access to the status of your recovery through a secure portal

    Ontrack’s Answer: Choose a provider that offers transparency across every level of the recovery process, from the initial consultation to the status of your data during the recovery. We offer customers a free consultation and diagnostic report of their recoverable files, in addition the status of their recovery in real-time via Ontrack® Online™. Why create more headaches with vague information or pay for a recovery when you don’t know what you’re getting back?

Complexity: More data doesn’t need to mean more problems.

  • Myth #1: Data can only be recovered after hard drive failures; encrypted data and logical errors within typical home applications, such as e-mail, are unrecoverable.


    Reality: The ability to successfully recover data from applications, such as e-mail, are similar (and sometimes greater) when compared to hard drive recovery. As more of your data is being stored on new storage technologies (such as tablets, cloud environments, mobile devices, etc.), it is critical to choose a provider with proprietary recovery technologies to increase the likelihood of getting your personal data back.

    Additionally, since more consumers are using encryption to protect sensitive or personal information, it can increase the complexity of the process.

    When choosing a provider, ensure:

    • They have the capability of repairing and recovering data from within damaged files such as e-mail, word processing, databases, presentations  and spreadsheets
    • They‘ve developed specific tool sets for encrypted data recovery
    • They provide a variety of secure data recovery methods

    Ontrack’s Answer: Often times, the likelihood of a successful recovery from encrypted platforms is greater than from traditional hard drives. However, it is important to choose a provider that has continuously invested in research and development to create proprietary tool sets and processes for new storage technologies. Ontrack has been investing in proprietary encryption recovery tools for over seven years, and returns data in an encrypted format. Additionally, we offer do-it-yourself (DIY) software and in-lab services, among others, to provide you with the right solution for your specific data loss situation.

  • Myth #2: In an emergency, accessing backup files is much quicker than data recovery.


    Reality: The reality is not everyone backs up their data, and if they do, it’s only the data that’s housed on their personal computers – forgetting about mobile and music devices or SSD/flash drives. Moreover, backup devices are often not kept current or become corrupt over time; therefore leaving you with data loss that otherwise couldn’t be recovered unless given to a trusted data recovery provider.

    Make sure to properly prepare by partnering with a trusted data recovery provider, it will save time and headaches in the long run.

    Ontrack’s Answer: Don’t make the mistake of believing that accessing backup files, if possible, will solve your data recovery needs. Many times it is much more timely and cost-effective for a data recovery provider to access these files and evaluate what data can be recovered.

    When choosing a provider, you should ensure they can efficiently recover data with a variety of service levels and methods (including do-it-yourself (DIY) and in-lab solutions) to minimize the overall loss. Ontrack offers these methods.

  • Myth #3: A larger data recovery provider will focus more time and effort on the needs of large corporation over the needs of my data recovery incident.


    Reality: A good data recovery provider employs dedicated engineering resources to complete jobs of all sizes, and offers multiple service options for recovering lost or inaccessible data from laptops, desktops, mobile devices and SSD/flash drives.

    Data recovery is available for any operating system, including:

    • Any make, model or brand
    • Generation of drive
    • All causes of data loss - from simple to the most complex situations

    Ontrack’s Answer: Providers that offer unique solutions to fit the needs of its customers, both large and small, will ensure they receive the personalized care they deserve. Ontrack offers a variety of service options, including do-it-yourself (DIY) software for the greatest flexibility and support of its customers.

Security: “Secure” seems to be a flexible term these days.

  • Myth #1: Every data recovery provider offers the same, trustworthy service, so I know my data is always in good hands.


    Reality: You’d like to think so, but do your homework before assuming that every recovery provider has your best interests in mind. Damaged data is bad enough, but losing it forever can be heartbreaking.  Make sure the provider you choose is trustworthy, authorized to handle highly sensitive information and adheres to government protocols.

    Ontrack’s Answer: Many data recovery providers claim to have a strong commitment to trustworthy service and sound security, but do your homework ahead of time to protect yourself and your most valuable assets. Ontrack is authorized to handle highly sensitive information and adheres to government protocols. SAS 70 Type II Certification also ensures the security of your data while at our locations.

  • Myth #2: My data is password protected so I don’t need to worry about my personal information being compromised.


    Reality: Consider your bank statements, credit card bills, tax and medical information falling into the wrong hands. Unfortunately, no technology is completely safe from compromise and lost data can usually be recovered immediately regardless of whether the hard drive has crashed or been damaged. It’s dangerous to assume that because you hid or deleted your personal information, it can’t be compromised – it can.

    Ensure you choose a recovery provider with a long history of success and skilled engineers who will protect your recovered data. Verify that your provider has formal protocols and procedures in place to ensure the security of your personal information, including the following:

    • SAS 70 Type II Certification that ensures strict standards for data security, handling, processes and staffing 
    • All employees complete pre-employment background checks and sign confidentiality agreements
    • Comprehensive Information/Data Security Policy
    • Full-time, in-house security staff and 24/7 real-time monitoring
    • Recovered data is returned encrypted

    Ontrack’s Answer: Don’t assume that your data is safe just because you have a password installed. Choose a data recovery provider that can ensure the safety of your sensitive information, and returns it in an encrypted format. In just the past year, Ontrack has returned over 5 Petabytes of file data in an encrypted format. Additionally, we maintain an annual SAS 70 Type II Certification that ensures the strictest standards for data security, processes and staffing. Moreover, we employ a comprehensive Information Security Policy that covers all data handling and data security protocols/standards.

  • Myth #3: I don’t trust my data going to a third party because I have no visibility into where my data is actually going.


    Reality:  Your data is invaluable, especially photos and other memories that aren’t easy to recapture. Any recovery provider that truly values you as a customer will give you transparency into the status and quality of the recoverable files. Expert providers have the necessary expertise in working with you to protect your data and rapidly respond to data loss incidences.

    When choosing a provider, it’s critical they can show you where your data is 100% of the time.

    Ontrack’s Answer: After the headaches of data loss, the last thing you need to worry about is where your data is going and if you’ll get it back. An expert data recovery provider understands the urgency of rapidly responding to all data loss incidences and gives you a deep understanding of where your data is and where it’s going.  Ontrack offers secure software and in-lab services, among others, to provide you with the right solution for your specific data loss situation. We also give you access to the status of your recovery in real-time via a secure, online portal.

Coming soon!

Coming soon!