This is one of those posts that tells of the successes achieved but really should be a statement of how the R3 team keep their lab capacity efficient and productive.
R3 data recovery engineers maximise the success rates at a cost lower than some organisations charge for their “forensic” software data recovery. Today any computer software user can download and retrieve data if the storage device is not damaged or faulty.
15 years ago before I built the UKs most technically proficient and efficient high capacity lab and located it in Sheffield the average cost of a recovery of a failed drive was £2500+vat and the average drive was below 5GB capacity with only a handful of real DR companies in the UK but lots of resellers and partners.
Today the average drive capacity is over 1TB and the average cost is below £500 for a failed drive.
R3 software recovery / data transfer and memory stick repairs started at £79+vat but now with data protection legislation and growing capacity of drives and of memory sticks and SSD it’s more often £129+vat
Some worse case complex cases requiring multiple rebuilds can cost thousands of pounds but they are rare and often caused by running software when it’s impossible to solve without an engineer and a dr lab full of equipment.
The problem for consumers is one of seeing through Internet misinformation. This came with the rise of the internet marketing gurus backed years ago by government, European and Welsh assembly grants to create jobs in an unemployment black spot. A good idea at the time but damaging to thousands of consumers and businesses.
They quote £97 or £99 for a recovery, but it’s not a real price for a recovery of a failed drive or memory stick. It is for the equivalent of a software recovery you can do yourself on deleted files or accidently formatted drives for the cost of the software at less than £40.
It’s a risky situation picking the wrong data recovery specialists. Physical data recovery requires expensive equipment, time served electo mechanical DR engineers and determination. But don’t get the wrong idea cheap data recovery does exist, but to recognise it you need to know the real costs.
To be competitive and innovative requires a scale and a balance and a grip on reality - the realisation that cheap data recovery could be nothing more than a scam to take money for doing nothing. Often declaring a drive unrecoverable if it’s complex or attempt to extract the most money possible from easy to do work.
As a one man operation 15 years ago my efficiency and productivity on a difficult head crashed, platter damaged drive declared unrecoverable by a global operation if applied today would mean I would be out of business in an hour. It took 18 hours a day for the best part of a month to manually track the heads, manage the heads in bad areas and recover the intact areas of the platters just to get a few GB.
The cost per GB was high and if applied today I would not be worrying about the ever increasing amount of data, processing time and electricity cost - I would be making millions from very little investment rather than spending a £million to offer a sub £700 data recovery service and doing well to make a living and break even.
This is why many competitors who quote sub £150 services have failed to bring any real changes to the technology or unique solutions needed to progress a recovery of a truly failed drive. There is no investment and no incentive.
They are software jockeys charging R&D prices for simple software recoveries…. And it’s very lucrative to work that way.
Worse some have misled consumers and businesses and competitors alike into believing their claims of being number 1, or industry leading but in reality they operate in a way that is fraudulent. And it has destroyed true competition and innovation——well up to a point.
R3 Data Recovery Ltd was founded on the same premis as my first DR operation abc Data Recovery Ltd which first Developed Security House and delivered the UKs first independent high capacity data recovery lab in 2007 after 7 years of planning.
At that point the Internet marketeers and Pay Per Click meant that those who could advertise best online received more enquiries. £97 data recovery was a marketing success but thousands were told their damaged drives data were unrecoverable at any cost and unfortunately as a result of helping consumers, charities and businesses scammed by a competitor my operations were compromised and I nearly died from injuries sustained during being served a HCI served on me and others which later was proven to be secured under false pretences and a perjured affidavit.
The profit made from scams is in the £800-£1500 range basically inflated / extortionate charges for software recoveries. A real data recovery lab does not really want software recoveries because it’s an IT support type task and does not require the investment or present the challenges real data recovery engineers need to keep them motivated.
A real Data Recovery lab as is the case with R3 has to had to invest at least £100,000 per lead engineer in terms of equipment and each engineer has at least a decade of experience - to be efficient today each engineer has a few assistants to help find and test donors, help with data transfers and file listing reports, wiping images and keeping equipment serviceable to maximise production.
Very few data recovery labs have true R&D specialists like those found in R3. With industry leading UK based engineers recruited from well known data recovery operations accross the UK and Europe the Security House lab delivers a realcost effective data recovery option used in disasters such as floods, power outages or drops and knocks.
Although it is important to maintain the labs commitment to R&D to keep up with the development of techniques used today. It is done by bringing solutions quickly to hundreds of clients developed initially from just the first to have the misfortune.
The current Seagate 8TB drives coming in would have been only a decade ago difficult to imagine finding a solution for when 500GB drives were the largest and most difficult to recover at the time. But for every problem there is a solution.
The big issue is the quantities of data and therefor the processing time needed. The average weekly terabytes recovered in the first 2 months of 2015 was 30 TB. But represented almost 50TB of imaging. A year later and it’s doubled.
In 2007 I built a server room that at the time had 60TB of temporary storage and if the same methods were used today I would need 1200 TB. I needed better methods to manage the recovery processing and secure wiping of drives and ways to keep costs down.
Today the server room has just one of the original racks and still has over 60 TB of temporary storage but that’s just for memory sticks and relatively small amounts of temporary storage.
The big growth in DR is from memory sticks, SSD and servers, in particular cloud based solutions such as virtual servers.
The largest RAID array recovered during 2015 was 55 TB it was one storage unit with several RAID 5 volumes, numerous VM’s and interlinked databases between virtual servers. In 2016 we will see arrays with ten times that storage capacity fail despite backups and redundancy and it affects dozens or even hundreds of virtual servers and 10,000 of users.
Pricing of data recovery many years ago was per GB because of the physical processing time cost. Today some DR operations advertise “no per GB charges” but the reality is much of the average cost calculations are based on Terabytes.. When finding a “real cost of data recovery” you need to be aware that any company advertising a sub £150 data recovery service is really quoting the data transfer portion of the cost for an amount of data that can transfer in say a day. Not the true recovery cost and associated donor(s) cleanroom and other tasks needed.
R3 give an accurate cost of the full recovery at the time of quoting wherever possible.
The true cost of data recovery has come down in real terms in the last 15 years but the margins are tighter and the disparity of success rates greater.
Look for genuine reviews and when comparing like for like be aware R3 do not advertise who their clients are. We are under NDA and confidentiality agreements with government bodies, financial institutions, mod contractors, trading standards investigators, solicitors, barristers, data controllers, hospital trusts, manufacturers, musicians, writers, developers and individuals. Recovering data is our remit and any praise from a client helps with the working day but we remain dedicated to confidentiality and dedication to the highest possible success rates in the world.