CBL outgrows its disk-repair roots

MARKHAM, Ont. — CBL Data Recovery Technologies Inc. has opened a lab in Singapore in order to service customers in the Asia-Pacific Region.

The Canadian company now has 50 employees working out of 10 locations worldwide, including

San Diego, Redcliffe, Australia and Kaiserlautern, Germany.

Dan Pelosi, who heads up new business development, said CBL probably won’t open any new locations any time soon, and will instead work on drumming up more business in its existing locations.

At CBL’s tenth anniversary party, held Thursday its corporate headquarters, president Bill Margeson noted the firm’s business model has changed significantly.

“”When we started, we thought repairing hard drives would be a nice business,”” he said, but added many customers were only interested in getting the data from their damaged disks, and weren’t concerned about the cost of replacing the hardware.

“”Things changed for us really quickly,”” Margeson said. “”Our strategy to be repairmen wouldn’t last very long.””

Today, the company recovers data from a wide variety of devices, including desktop and laptop hard disks, servers and high-end storage devices such as tape and optical jukeboxes.

Most of the equipment shipped in for repair is from desktop or mobile personal computers, Pelosi said.

Nancy Nigh, account analyst with the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) information services department, said her company occasionally uses CBL to recover data from damaged notebooks and other systems.

Although HBC has backup systems in place, employees who save to their hard drive while on the road sometimes lose their data before they’ve had a chance to back it up.

Employees who lose data on notebooks are a boon for companies like CBL, said Alan Freedman, Toronto-based manager of infrastructure hardware research for market research firm IDC Canada.

Although CBL provides “”tremendous value”” to companies that need to recover valuable data, Freedman said the market is “”very quiet”” because there isn’t a lot of publicity surrounding data losses.

For some large companies, replacing the data they lost on a server or redundant array of inexpensive disks (RAID) system could cost millions, Pelosi said.

“”It’s nothing for them to spend $12,000 to $15,000″” to get the data recovered, he added.

During a tour of the Markham facility, Pelosi said CBL makes duplicate copies of all media that are brought in, and technicians — which he referred to as “”detectives or glorified hackers”” — then try to recover the data from the duplicates. All original pieces of equipment are returned to the customers or, if the customer asks, destroyed.

About 15 to 20 per cent of devices that are brought in are damaged to the point where CBL cannot recover the data, Pelosi added.

CBL has developed remote monitoring technology that allows workers to examine equipment at the customers’ location, which saves the users the trouble (and expense) of shipping the gear to a CBL lab.

The company is also working on a technology dubbed “”Universal Server Writer”” but did not divulge additional details Thursday.

Comment: infoitbusiness.ca

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