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Data Recovery Pricing: A Rough Guide

A good data backup strategy is like a good insurance policy. It’s a modest upfront investment that helps protect you against costly losses caused by the unforeseen. If your data backup plan doesn’t sufficiently protect your valuable data, then you’ll be faced with the high costs of data recovery. Just like a visit to hospital emergency room is more expensive and more uncertain than a routine checkup with a family doctor, emergency data recovery can cost anywhere from $200 to $200,000 depending on the circumstances—and worst of all, success is never guaranteed.
To further illustrate how costly data recovery can be, the following is a rough guide of the factors that impact data recovery costs.
Type of Disk
There are a few variables here: the interface of the disk, the size of the disk and the model of the disk. In general, data recovery from a SCSI disk is more complex than data recovery from an IDE disk. SATA data recovery is somewhere in the middle. Larger disks are typically more difficult to recover data from. Furthermore, differences in the way the hard disk drive is manufactured can introduce further complexity. These complexities equal greater data recovery costs.
Cause of Failure
A logical failure occurs when the data has been corrupted such that the data on the disk can no longer be properly read. A physical failure occurs when the hardware itself has malfunctioned or suffed physical damage. In the vast majority of cases, data recovery from a logical hard disk failure is much simpler. Contributing to this is the high probability that a physical failure will be accompanied by logical faults on the disk as well.
Operating System
Each operating system has its own file system, and each file system has a varying level of difficulty in terms of data recovery. For example, Unix data recovery is typically more challenging than data recovery from a Windows machine. Legacy file systems may also pose unique challenges.
User Error
Depending on which actions are taken immediately after or during hard disk drive failure, the chances for data recovery may be negatively impacted by user intervention. Continuing to work with a disk that is failed or failing can cause further damage. This includes data recovery attempts. There are a number of data recovery programs available for purchase or as free trials. But it’s important to avoid programs that do not properly mount damaged drives as read-only. The best practice is to create a sector-by-sector image of a disk and perform data recovery on the image, rather than the drive itself. And it’s of the utmost importance to avoid writing new data to the disk—including recovered files—when data is being recovered.
In short, even if the outlook is initially good—say, there has been a simple logical failure, such as a failed format or partition operation—improper user intervention can quickly worsen and complicate the matter. If the data is truly available, avoid blind trial and error and refer to a professional data recovery technician.
And, of course, invest in a data backup plan now to avoid paying through the nose for data recovery tomorrow.


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