Armonk company specializes in lost data.
One thing companies have learned to become more aware of over the last several months is the potential for loss of important business data in the event of an unexpected disaster. Bill Margeson, president of Armonk-based CBL Data Recovery Technologies, talked to us about how his company recovers data that customers might have given up for lost.
What does CBL Data Recovery Technologies do?
Founded in 1993, CBL offers data recovery services worldwide through its network of labs, offices, and 28 authorized partners.
CBL has 42 employees in eight countries on four continents, including: San Diego, Calif.; Toronto, Canada; Newcastle and Northampton, United Kingdom; Kaiserslautern, Germany; Beijing, China; Barbados, West Indies; San Paulo, Brazil; and Singapore.
How have you stayed viable in the current economic conditions? Have they affected you at all?
We are not just viable but expanding–it’s not like you can postpone recovering lost data. Data loss does not recognize economic boundaries. We actually got some opportunities as a result of 9/11. When you save a company by handing them data that they thought was lost, a strange sort of relationship comes out of that. We’ve had several of our past clients approach us after 9/11, and we’re now consulting and performing threat/risk assessments and recommending changes to the way they keep their data secure. We’re trying to do it with them. There’s a tendency to buy off the shelf, but you have to customize these things. The data needs of a graphic-design firm are very different from those of a banking firm.
What kind of recovery work did you do in the World Trade Center?
Nino’s [the restaurant that became a nonprofit to feed Ground Zero volunteers for free] was using a computer to schedule for volunteers. Their computer crashed. The way it got here [to Armonk, from Ground Zero] was that the police knew the situation, and a constable took the hard drive to the end of his patrol area, and handed it off to another who took it to the end of his patrol area, and that’s how it got hand-passed until it got to us. Unfortunately, we couldn’t help them because it was a profound and fatal head crash.
There was a businessman who contacted us, a guy who lost everything–all of his data and hardware. He sent us a backup tape that was about three months old. He’d made a backup, and he literally stumbled on it in his office. His customer lists, his personnel lists, everything was on the backup, and while it wasn’t everything, we were able to give him a good running start to get his business going again.
How long does it usually take you to recover data, and how much are you able to recover?
It usually takes 48-72 hours; we work as fast as the problem will permit. Tape takes longer because it usually has tons more data, but when it comes to disk drives, or servers, we recognize that downtime is the hidden enemy, and we do our best to keep it to a minimum. Our clients are often confused and wondering what their next priority is, but we recognize that downtime is really hurting them.
Last year about 17 percent of what came to our labs was in an absolutely failed condition, where there’s no magnetic signal to read anymore. In those situations, all we can do is give them closure, but most of the time we can get something.
What can we expect to see from you in 2002?
We have newly developed Digital Lineal Tape (DLT) technologies, which enable us to recover data from overwritten tapes. The problem of overwritten tapes is a big issue, and this lineal technology is our own kind of tool/technique; it’s a bit of a coup for us. Now we’re just itching to get some more overwrite problems coming in so we can see it in action.
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