Data Recovery: Only $199.00! Is cheap what you really want, seriously?

by dtswally

on December 16, 2010

in blog

Before you send that crashed hard drive out to a data recovery vendor who claims they only charge $199.00 for their service consider this. A real possibility suddenly exists of losing important pieces to your life. You are putting sensitive data into the hands of people you don’t even know, data about your company, your financial records, social security numbers even information about your health. Potentially it’s the most important data in your life. The old axiom, you don’t know what you’ve got until you lose it says it all. Is cheap what you really want, seriously?

Years ago as a network administrator, I was called into the president’s office of the company I was working for. He told me that a competitor had knocked off our product and was reproducing it under their name. It was the one product responsible for the tremendous growth we were enjoying. He showed me the knock off. It was identical to our product, only it had their name on it. He said “You do have our original product drawings in an electronic format don’t you? I mean they we’re backed up, weren’t they?”

We had filed a lawsuit against this company to defend our product from patent infringement. As part of the defense we had to prove that we had invented and produced our product before the other company did. In fact this was the truth. They had stolen our product from us. And because all engineering drawings have the date of the drawing printed out in the title block, it was a reasonable question for him to ask. I assured him that we did and I would get right on it.

As I left his office panic crept in. My first thought was, “I hope we have those files. The drawings that he is asking for are 10 years old and I wasn’t even working here then! We’ve upgraded our process for backing up company data. We don’t use that old backup system anymore. We don’t even have the hardware, or software installed on the network. And if those old engineering drawings do exist, they’re on old tape. How am I going to get those files?”

As it turned out recovering those old files was not a problem. I sent the old tapes to a well respected data recovery company and two days later they called to tell me that they could recover all of the files. They just needed to know what format I wanted them in. Whew! I would sleep that night.

The data recovery cost for that project was $3,200.00. The drawings we recovered were entered in as evidence to the court and they were a part in successfully defending our patent. Later the president told us what it meant to win. He said the other company had to remove their product from the shelves of the companies they sold it to. They had to stop manufacturing immediately. They had to pay all the court fees and reimburse our company for damages. The total dollar amount was estimated in the millions because of lost sales. We may have lost that case without those old engineering drawings.

Whenever I see advertising that claims Data Recovery for $199.00! I always think about what we went through to recover our data. And I wonder if other companies who find themselves in a similar situation really want to trust their data recovery for $199.00.

For the really important pieces of your life, is that all they’re worth. Are you serious?