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Making data recovery look easy.

It’s a horrible moment: one minute your data is there and the next, poof! The hard drive is grinding, the screen is blank, and the thought of loss makes you a little faint. The recovery experts at Atlanta-based ActionFront Data Recovery Labs hear these types of stories every day, and are glad to ready themselves for rescue. Ron Austin, vice president of marketing and business development, chats about finding what was feared lost.

Why do you think you’re the only company to offer free evaluations, and why do you think this is important?

Every organization and every individual user values their data differently. Loss of accounting or customer data can kill a business. Loss of medical data can threaten healthcare integrity and personal digital photos can be priceless. On the other hand, sometimes the lost data can be written off or recreated cheaper than it can be recovered. The cost of data recovery relates to the severity and type of damage and the complexity of the system and can range from a few hundred dollars for a straightforward problem on a single drive to thousands of dollars for a multi-drive server. By providing a free evaluation, we allow our customers to compare the cost of recovery to the value of their data and then make the right decision for themselves.

What kinds of challenges did you find in doing data recovery?

Data recovery poses numerous technical, logistic, and business challenges including keeping up with the rapid evolution and increasingly high capacities of data storage devices, training technicians, and keeping the customer informed while avoiding tech jargon.

Why did you decide to put out free guides of data loss prevention advice?

It may seem counter-intuitive: We give away advice that, if closely followed, may reduce the need for our services. But, by giving away a booklet of advice you can use today and perhaps keep for future reference, we expect that when you or your friends and colleagues experience a data loss emergency, you will turn to ActionFront for help. And both guides tell you what to do (and what not to do) during a data loss emergency, so even if you do have problems, you can avoid making mistakes that complicate the recovery. Keep our guide around like you would a get-out-of-jail-free card in Monopoly.

Are there any trends that you may have noticed in data recovery recently?

First, we are seeing an increase in the number of complex recoveries that involve servers and backups as sophisticated data storage platforms migrate to the level of workgroups and medium-sized business. Second, our industry niche is getting a higher profile. For example, insurance companies are learning more about us as their customers demand data recovery as part of their loss claims.

What are a couple of the common errors that people make in a data loss emergency?

Data loss victims often lower their prospects for recovery when they panic and try out ad hoc solutions before fully analyzing their situation and calling for professional Data Recovery advice. Typical errors include trying to restore a backup onto a corrupted file system, repeatedly powering up a device that has shown symptoms of physical failure, such as a ticking or grinding noise or using database transaction logs to “roll back” a corrupted database to a “known good state.” People find Internet sites offering advice about data recovery and Do-it-Yourself software solutions. Unfortunately, the advice is often just plain wrong and this type of software usually attempts a fix by writing to the problem media. There is no software in the world that can fix a physical disk crash.

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