Data recovery

If you need to recover data from a hard drive or other media that cannot be accessed in the normal way then you may wish to seek the services of a data recovery company. This could be necessary if a hard drive fails and can no longer be accessed, or it could be that you deleted a number of files in error.

There is no formal data recovery provider appointed by Trinity, however we have researched the market and the company listed towards the end of this page meet a broad range of criteria. Before contacting them please familiarise yourself with the following advice.

Some things to take into account

Nature of data

If the data to be recovered is highly sensitive then please contact the IT Service Desk and ask to consult with IT Security Officer before contacting any data recovery company.

Confidentiality clause & data retention

When dealing with a data recovery company it is important to ensure that they are registered with the Data Commissioner. It is also important that both parties sign a data confidentiality agreement prior to any data recovery work being carried out. If the data is to be copied to a third-party device on the premises of the recovery company then it is important to know how long the data is kept on the third-party media before being wiped, after the data recovery job has been completed.

Lab environment & tracking system

It is important to make sure the facilities of the company secure and preferably that they have a Class-100 cleanroom lab. Does the company have a tracking system to record actions taken, ensure traceability and reduce the risk of any mix up relating to customers' data.

Security in transit & return of original media

Consider how the relevant media is to be transported - will it be secure during transportation. If the original media is returned to you then you should ensure it will be done securely and you should arrange to destroy it once it is no longer in use.

Costs

As the cost of data recovery can be relatively high, you should ask first for an evaluation before choosing whether to proceed. Does the company provide an evaluation data recovery report for customer sign-off before any monetary charges begin. It is also worth asking if there are break points at which you can suspend the work without incurring extra costs. The cost of data recovery services can vary greatly depending on the work that is required to restore, or attempt to restore, the data.

Further Data Recovery Tips

Hardware failure or data corruption can occur at any time. The resulting panic and chaos can result in poor decision making, leading to further loss or damage. If you suffer a hard drive failure, take a minute to read these tips before you do anything.

  • If your hard drive is making clicking, grinding or whirring sounds, shut down the drive or your computer immediately. These sounds could be the read/write heads hitting or scraping the hard disk platters. Severe or complete data loss could result. Do NOT continue to power cycle the drive (turning the computer on and off) as this is likely to cause further damage.

  • Do not disassemble or attempt to open the hard drive that has been damaged – improper handling can make recovery operations more difficult and can lead to valuable information being lost.

  • Avoid DIY remedies you may have seen on YouTube, such as placing a non-spinning hard drive in a freezer or hitting a drive on its side. Much of this information is inaccurate and while some may claim success, these suggestions may actually harm the device and could lead to permanent data loss.

  • Don’t run SpinRite or any other 'regeneration' programs on a failing drive. These programs merely scan the surface and reallocate bad sectors. This causes intensive wear on the drive and will accelerate drive failure, leading to more expensive recovery costs or, even worse - an unrecoverable drive.

  • Do not swap PCB’s between hard drives. Modern circuit boards contain unique 'adaptive' data and although the drive will spin, the drive will never initialise and may cause further damage

  • Do not use data recovery software if the hard drive makes scraping, tapping, clicking or humming sounds and never install any recovery software on the drive, you run the risk of overwriting data!

  • Do not install data recovery software on the same drive or partition that your lost files are on – you risk overwriting your lost data forever. Be careful not to re-install or factory reset your computer if you have lost or deleted data.

  • If your hard drive is encrypted with Full Disk Encryption (FDE), don’t reformat or initialise the disk. Don’t run any data recovery tools or attempt a 'FIXMBR' command. This will overwrite crucial data at the beginning of the drive. Finally, don’t attempt to force-decrypt a failing disk.

  • If in any doubt, call the recommended Data Recovery experts immediately - see the contact details for a recommended company below.

Recommended data recovery company

CDS - Critical Data Services - www.criticaldata.ie

Critical Data Services meet the requirements outlined above and IT Services is happy to recommend their services. You may find it useful to read through the CDS FAQ before contacting them. Critical Data Services have agreed to waive their regular evaluation fee of €50 and to offer courier collection for all Trinity jobs. They also apply a university discount and offer upgraded service level at no surcharge. They are in the Trinity FIS system making it easier to deal with the financial administration associated with any work they carry out.

Any interaction with this third-party company is at your discretion and IT Services are not responsible for any loss of data or property arising from such interaction.