The word specialist can strike fear into people. Why? Well, possibly because it makes a problem seem more serious somehow. Or maybe it’s because they think it’s going to be horrendously expensive.
But what is it that makes a specialist, and even more importantly, a good one? Is it by being all powerful, a voice to be feared like the Wizard of Oz? I doubt I’d go to someone like that, nor could I imagine another other people wishing to either!
If you ask a search engine “what is a specialist” you will find that it is “a person who concentrates primarily on a particular subject or activity; a person highly skilled in a specific and restricted field”. If you think of it in a medical sense, a heart specialist for example has an in depth knowledge of what makes your ticker tick and how to treat problems that you are either born with, or develop over your lifetime. The likelihood is that you will have been referred to the specialist from your GP, because although GP’s know the human body and the anatomy of a heart, and they can offer fast fixes for many conditions, they know their patient is best placed in the care of a cardiac specialist if the problem is serious.
GP’s can check your heart over, and know what sounds normal and what doesn’t, but they wouldn’t dream of performing open heart surgery, or any internal procedure, because to do that they need to have the right tools, knowledge, environment and equipment to do it, which of course takes years to study and become highly skilled.
When it comes to data stored digitally, the scenario is not really that different.
If you have an issue with your computer, the likelihood is that you will take it to your trusted IT provider or computer repair centre first and that is entirely the right thing to do. These superstars will be able to give your laptop or PC a really good look over and establish whether it’s a hardware or software issue that is causing your problems. In a way, they are like the GPs for your computer, as they have a very broad knowledge of all things IT and can get you out of trouble with the vast majority of issues cost effectively. They will be able to provide preventative care for your computer, ongoing maintenance and the right products to keep things running smoothly. However, physical hard drive faults themselves are sensibly referred on to specialist data recovery centres due to their complexity and need for specialised tools and working environments.
Whilst we are not dealing on a life and death basis as it could be when dealing with health matters, for many clients their data is mission critical and losing it could be completely devastating to their livelihood. A manufacturing company’s small and seemingly insignificant PC, for example, containing bespoke and now completely unsupported software ‘test’ routines that form a small but integral part of the production chain that their entire manufacturing processes are run on – they could find themselves at a complete and utter standstill with potential software re writing costs running into tens of thousands. This is when specialist Data Recovery comes into its own. Working with ‘legacy’ equipment that requires repair and recovery to ultimately ‘save the day’.
Please, also bear in mind, that when working within some data recovery scenario’s and a device that’s degrading fast, there’s a high probability you’ll only get one shot at getting the data back, and you will have to make that all-important decision as to who you will put your trust in to make sure you’ve got the best possible odds.
Performing “open surgery” on hard drives should only be carried out by experienced personnel who have the correct tools and techniques that have often been acquired over many years and also have the right environment to do so. Removing the tamper screws and the lid without having the drive in a clean chamber will introduce contamination. It only takes a speck of dust that is almost invisible to the naked eye to find its way on to the platter surface to spell complete disaster for your information.
The big question that clients ask about cost. Working with a specialist of any kind, whilst it does of course have associated fees attached, is often not as expensive as you think. In fact, it can end up saving you, in terms of both time and money. If you think about it, you’ve ended up at the specialist’s door because all your previous efforts to solve the problem have not been successful. This shouldn’t mean that they have carte blanche to charge you exorbitant rates or take advantage of their position. However, acquiring the extensive skillset to be able to solve the problem that you have, and the responsibility of being perhaps the only person to get you out of the hole you’re in, should be rewarded fairly.