Data Recovery Processes

Data loss through a failed PC hard drive or cyber-attack is a galling problem for three reasons. First, you missed the warning signs of disk slowdown hinting at failure or somehow let a hacker get access to your PC or online system to  loot or lock it up. Second is that both cyber attacks and system failure likely could be prevented if the proper security and PC testing procedures had been followed. Simple vigilance can often foil hack attacks and system failures.  Third reason can be the most vexing The most reliable cure for disk failure and cyber attacks is  having a good backup procedure. Proper backup could expedite nearly total system and data recovery for system crashes, ransomware attacks, or hack attack clean-up. So the Boy Scout question is “Are you prepared?”

Backup Basics

We have done a detailed review of backup along with data security in another Opensourcery.com review. Here is visual overview of Backup processes:
backup
Most PC  backup processes offer two options. There is backup software  [costing $50 to $100/year] to  external drives [costing  $45 for 1TB to $150 for 8TB one time cost] or backup to a Cloud service like DropBox or Google Drive[costing .$60/year for 2TB].As you can see PC Backup depending on the disk usage on your workstation can easily reach  $100/year or more of out of pocket costs. But the real hidden cost is the backup learning curve. There are dozens of backup options that users must choose from to implement their backup effectively. Thus, DIY may be out of reach – so factor in bi-monthly support staff costs. In sum it is easy to see how on the PC side, backup may have been short changed.

In contrast, for website backup the situation is much better. First, for most website operations or hosting services, they offer regular daily backups as part of their annual fees [typically $60 to $250/year]. For fast changing websites, users can order more frequent backups  for an added fee. Second, users can DIY with backup plugins or software that varies in price from free to $60 one time cost. These backup plugns  Finally, for websites both the backup and recovery operations are fairly plug and play oriented.. The net result is that backup should be in place for websites in the case of either system crash or cyberattack … should be.

Data Recovery Sagas

This review is about reality – what happens in the worst case when there is no backup available. Let first consider a PC hard disk crash.. Yes, there are scattered backup files, program disks, and maybe some files up on the Cloud. But basically a patchwork quilt. However, given the state of the arttools for recovering data from crashed drives, there is a Cottage Industry of Data Recovery specialists. Here is a list of Toronto area data recovery firms and their costs:

1)ESS Data Recovery -$100 analysis, $1000-$15,000 for any device data recovery, turnaround 3-10 days
2)Memofix Data Recovery Service  – $80 analysis, $500-$1250 for PC data recovery, 1-3 days
3)Gigapex Computer – $40 analysis, $100-$150 for PC data recovery, turnaround 2-3 days
4)WeRecoverData Inc – $110 analysis, $750-$3000 for PC data recovery, turnaround 2-5 days
5)Datalab247 Inc – $90 analysis, $375-$2300 for any device data recovery, turnaround,1-5 days

As can be seen. among more than a dozen data recovery firms there is a wide range of services, turnaroud time  and prices. Most companies charge only the analysis fee if they fail to recover any data. Also turnaround time can be expedited for a fee. Having had to do PC data recovery for 3 clients, I can say it pays to shop around for the best deal and the success rate for achieving complete data recovery can be very good.

However data recovery in the case of websites is mixed. Again, a few WordPress client have been left in the lurch by  their hosting service whose backups have proved to be incomplete [or in one case,  completely unavailable]. That is why I recommend to clients to invest in DIY backup software particularly if there is any operational or financial data. Just backup that critical data as a supplement to the hosting service backups.

If no website data is available, consider using the US Govenment’s National Archives WayBack Machine which has quarterly copies [and some times monthly copies] of most American-based websites. In two cases, when the hosting service backups failed, I was able to find versions of the websites on the WayBack Machine which then allowed  rescuing images and copy that would otherwise have been lost. Likewise one can go fishing for lost images on Google or videos on Youtube. But this situation ch only emphasizes the value of a secondary backup outside a website’s  hosting service.

Summary

Data recovery when you have good backups can be a life saver for both time and money. But on a PC given the annual cost and  operational complications, it is likely users will be scrambling among Cloud services, local backups, program CDs, and Google services to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. As a last resort, we have found that working with commercial PC data recovery services to be quite variable in costs and turnaround times; but there are real gems to be found among the local data recovery companies. In contrast, for website data recovery, having a good hosting service is essential.Also having a secondary plugin backup of critical data is good, low cost insurance – anything to spare having to spend hours searching  Google and the Wayback Machine for scraps of data.