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Data Recovery Vendor Considerations

December 22nd, 2008

When looking for a data recovery provider, it’s important to ensure that the one selected can handle not only the various types of media, but also understands the data security regulations of today’s organizations. For example, encrypted data requires special data handling processes — from the clean room to the technically-advanced recovery lab. This isolation ensures no one person has complete access to the media throughout the recovery process, thereby providing security while maintaining recovery continuity and quality.

Additionally, it is important to note that some data recovery companies have been cleared for security projects and services for U.S. government agencies. As a result, these companies implement data privacy controls that are based on the U.S. government’s Electronic Defense Security Services requirements for civilian companies that are under contract for security clearance projects or services.

Unfortunately, most data loss victims only consider data recovery right after they have experienced a data loss and are scrambling for a solution. Emotions run high at this point. The fallout from a data disaster and corresponding data loss is sometimes crippling, with the IT staff working around the clock to get the computer systems back to normal. These distressed circumstances are not the time to think about what makes a good data recovery vendor. Incorporating this important decision into your business continuity planning is best done in advance. Some key questions to ask as part of this proactive exercise include:

  • Do you have a relationship with a preferred data recovery vendor?
  • What should you look for when reviewing data recovery companies?
  • Do you include data recovery in your disaster and business continuity planning?
  • Do you have a plan for how to handle data loss of encrypted data?
  • Do appropriate people have access to the encryption keys to speed up the recovery process?

Sometimes planning for these procedures can become involved and tedious, especially if you are planning for something you have never experienced. Do some investigating by calling data recovery service companies and presenting data loss situations such as email server recoveries, or RAID storage recoveries or physically damaged hard disk drives from mobile users. Ask about data protection and the policies in place to protect your company’s files.

Additionally, find out the techniques and recovery tools the providers use. Ask the companies how large their software development staff is. Inquire about how they handle custom development for unique data files. For example, will they be able to repair or rebuild your user’s unique files? Does the data recovery service company have any patents or special OEM certifications?

While these details may not seem important at first, they can be the decisive factors that determine whether your data recovery experience is a positive and successful endeavor.

Following is a checklist of factors to consider when searching for a data recovery vendor for encrypted data or ensuring your data recovery partner is able to comply with your data security policies:

  • Solid Reputation – Experienced data Recovery Company with a strong background.
  • Customer Service – Dedicated and knowledgeable staff.
  • Secure Protocols – Expert knowledge of encryption products with privacy protocols in place.
  • Technical Expertise – Capable of recovering from virtually all operating systems and types of storage devices.
  • Scalable Volume Operations – Equipped with full-service labs and personnel that can handle all size jobs on any media type.
  • Research & Development – Invested in technology for superior recoveries; not just purchasing solutions.

It is important to understand that data loss can occur at any time on any scale. It’s especially crucial to be prepared with a plan that adheres to your company’s security policy. The more prepared one is, the better the chance for a quick and successful recovery when a problem arises.

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