Larry a timely reminder for data protection

Some consumers are being taken for a ride when looking to recover lost data, a path that can easily be avoided, claims one supplier of data recovery services.

With Cyclone Larry whipping the North Queensland coast this week, emphasis has been placed on the importance of protecting data, and for the less fortunate, recovering data that may have already been damaged or lost.

"There are a lot of companies on the Internet offering data recovery," said the managing director of Ontrack Australia, Adrian Briscoe. "I suggest people pay attention to the detail and avoid rogue companies that may try to take advantage of people during times of panic.

"Over the past year, Ontrack has received many drives that other companies have been unable to repair. But when Ontrack's engineers examined the hard drives, it was obvious that they had not been opened, and no attempt had been made to recover the lost data."

Ontrack has released a guide that includes questions IT managers or individuals should ask before engaging a data recovery specialist.

These include asking the company to provide clear pricing estimates for the job, including any hidden or extra fees if it proves difficult to recover data from the drive; and asking whether the provider is authorised by leading manufacturers to open the seal on any hard drive without voiding the manufacturer's warranty.

Ontrack also makes several general suggestions. Individuals and companies should avoid cleaning or drying water-logged devices and media, powering up any visibly damaged devices.

Most important of all, people should "never assume that data is unrecoverable, no matter what it has been through", according to the guide.

The US-based Ontrack Data Recovery set up a Brisbane-based Cleanroom facility in August last year.