Data recovery firm suggests using courier to ship damaged drives

A data recovery company is offering a service to clients where they can send their hard drives or laptops for repair by courier through a partnership with The UPS Store and Mailboxes Etc.

CBL Data Recovery Technologies, which provides computer data recovery services, is offering packaging and shipping at no charge to clients who send their products through the network of more than 285 participating locations across the country.

“During the time of a hard drive failure you’ve got so many things to be concerned about,” said Kalle Almer, director of business development with CBL Data Recovery Technologies. This set-up allows clients to drop off their hard drive or laptop, without having to worry about packaging or shipping.

“When you’re faced with a data loss situation, you don’t know or don’t care about packaging,” he said. “All you’re concerned about is getting the data back.” And, for the most part, end-users or small to mid-size businesses – even some larger enterprises – don’t have regular courier services.

“The only thing they need to be concerned about is getting their drive or laptop to a UPS store and all the packaging and shipping will be taken care of,” he said. “It just expedites everything.” This also helps to prevent further damage, as in the past a number of drives were shipped to the company that suffered further damage as a result of poor packaging.

But beware of giving up a level of security for convenience, said Claudiu Popa, a security expert and president of Informatica Corp. If a hard drive breaks and your company does regular backups, he recommends destroying the drive and not sending it back for warranty or repair.

A company using such a service should make sure they have a service-level agreement with both the company handling the drive as well as the courier.

“For something that’s the size of almost a terabyte that will endanger an entire company and all your clients and investors, it’s just not worth it for a hard drive that costs a couple hundred bucks,” he said.

However, if your data is already encrypted, there’s nothing to worry about, he added. In that case, it’s perfectly safe to ship the drive because the confidentiality of the data will be preserved. Also, if the data is not mission-critical, it’s not a concern either.

CBL is targeting the service at businesses of all sizes, government agencies and individual computers users. Clients take the affected drive or laptop to their nearest The UPS Store or Mail Boxes Etc. location, inform the clerk they are a CBL corporate customer and tender their drive or laptop for packaging and next-day shipping to CBL’s data recovery laboratory in Markham, Ont.

Store employees are given a set of instructions to follow. When a client comes in and wants to send a drive to CBL, the employee calls up the packaging and shipping instructions on their screen.

The service was introduced in the U.S. last year, followed by the U.K. In the U.S., about 800-900 clients have used the service so far.

CBL determines what the problem is, what can be done to fix it and how much work is involved. It then provides the customer with a firm quote on the cost of recovery and they then have an option as to whether or not they want to proceed. In 10-12 per cent of cases, the data is unrecoverable, and there is no charge. Typically the turnaround is 48-72 hours.

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Vawn Himmelsbach
Vawn Himmelsbach
Is a Toronto-based journalist and regular contributor to IT World Canada's publications.

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