An international provider of data recovery services has expanded its presence in the Canadian market with a local office and a “clean room” laboratory where it will work on bringing back information corporate enterprises fear they’ve lost forever.

Ontrack Data Recovery on Tuesday said Canada would become its 17th worldwide location, offering onsite, remote and in-lab recovery services for servers, desktops and laptops. Ontrack software products such as DiskManager and its services have been available in Canada for about 18 years, mostly through its network of about 450 resellers, but its location in Toronto represents its first “in country” presence.

Ontrack vice-president of operations Todd Johnson said the company’s business in Canada grew 24 per cent last year, but it has occasionally been hampered by the need for customers here to send hard drives, for example, to the U.S. for recovery services.

“We know from our experience, the longer it takes to deliver evaluation results to a customer, the less likely they’ll need that data back,” he said. “Things could get stuck in customs for who knows how long at the border.”

Canada is already home to a number of large data recovery firms, including CBL Data Recovery Technologies and ActionFront Data Recovery Labs, but Johnson said Ontrack differentiates itself by the depth of its services. 

“We are able to deliver an evaluation report that’s comprehensive, that shows the data they can get back within one to two days. That is unmatched,” he claimed.

Doug Coughey, president of Guelph, Ont.-based Recovery Force Inc., said the real competition comes not from companies such as Ontrack (for whom Recovery Force was once a reseller) but the technicians within IT departments who don’t understand the principles of data recovery but who users appeal to for help.

“Because of the high overhead, we could be a lot more effective, because their pricing has to be considerably higher,” Coughey said, adding that the data recovery market is being flooded by those offering similar services. “Many are computer service companies and they have a tool or two, and they do it on the side. You have to look at each one on their own merits.” 

Johnson agreed, adding that too many enterprises fall victim to offers for free evaluations.

“They’ll send their drive in and within a day they’ll be told it looks good and they need to approve this charge. They’re told they cannot be provided with a file listing for a week or so. Then they’ll be told the data is not recoverable,” he said. “It’s a scary situation to be put in.”

Ontrack is promising customers complete results in 24-48 hours including file listings of good, bad and potentially damaged data. It offers remote recovery capablities for large servers and RAID systems, but workstations – where Johnson said half of the drives tend to be physically damaged, go to the clean room.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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