Why is data recovery expensive?

Being in the computer field for over 11 years now, I am always asked the same question by my clients when recovering their data. Why is data recovery so expensive? There are a number of reasons computer data recovery is so expensive. None of them involve taking advantage of the client.

The rise in available hard drive space for desktop computers has given way to an abundance of large file collections for the average home or business end user. 10 years ago you would rarely see a collection of data that could not fit onto a CD or DVD. 1-3 gigabytes of data was typical for the majority of my clients. However, nowadays with pictures, music and movies present on home computers this number can easily fall into the hundreds of gigabytes. This raises a few issues when trying to recover the data.

Data recovery is hardware intensive. For example, if I am transferring over 150 gigabytes of data from a client’s hard drive it will take approximately 2-3 hours. While the data is being transferred the computer cannot do anything else since this would take away from the hard drive performance. Thus a computer dedicated to data recovery is necessary in order to keep my business moving. This dedicated data recovery computer must have enough hard drives and available space to accommodate the largest hard drive presently available on the market. If a client were to have 1,200 gigabytes of data I would need to be able to accommodate their data recovery needs.

The above example describes a typical data transfer which happens when a computer will not boot into the Windows or Apple operating system. Typically a dead motherboard or “dying” hard drive will cause this to occur. Though when the hard drive itself is faulty I must override the software on the hard drive in order to create an image of the drive data. Unlike a transfer where I can pull only the data, I must image an entire hard disc onto a computer. If the client has a 750 gigabyte hard drive with only a third used, the entire 750 gigabyte image must be made. Not only does this require a great deal of space, it is also extremely time consuming. The average hard drive image takes about 8 hours to complete, again rendering the computer useless except for the present action of data recovery.

Both the time required to recover the data as well as the necessary dedicated hardware lead to the high cost of recovering data. Only the owner can determine if the data is worth the cost of recovery. Flat rate data recovery rates provide affordability to my clients when their data has been compromised.

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