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SalvageData Review

Andreas Rivera
, writer
| Updated
Aug 03, 2018
> Technology

SalvageData makes recovering your lost data as painless as possible. It offers several customer service channels, responsive representatives and several locations nationwide. The service has specialized options for your external media devices, including external hard drives, memory cards and USB drives. Its fast service coupled with its intricate knowledge of the recovery process best suited for certain types of media are why we recommend it as our best pick for external hard drive recovery.



The Best Hard Drive Recovery Services of 2019

The Verdict

SalvageData is our best pick for external hard drive recovery. It provides a quick and painless evaluation process with attentive, consistent customer service. Further, its cleanroom and data security and privacy controls are certified by a third party.

View all our recommendations for hard drive recovery services on our best picks page.

Cost Structure

SalvageData doesn't charge a flat rate for recovery services; instead, it provides different estimates on a case-by-case basis. It has three different service options, the first and most affordable being the Eco Salvage service, which offers basic service with non-prioritized turnaround. The mid-tier service is Standard Premium, which has faster turnaround and a dedicated account representative who personally works with you and updates you on your case. The Emergency Priority service gives your case priority and expedited shipping or FTP data delivery.

Your final total depends on the type of service you select and the severity of your case. SalvageData's website provides a rough estimate for hard drive recovery types, with minor failures (involving data that is accidentally deleted or damage due to power surges) costing $300 to $700 and extreme failures caused by major physical damage (fire or water) costing $1,100 to $1,900. Like all the best hard drive recovery services, it doesn't charge you if your data turns out to be unrecoverable.

Evaluation Process

This hard drive recovery service offers an in-lab evaluation of your damaged drive for free. The evaluation takes one or two business days and includes a full diagnostic report with the estimated recovery costs. You're given an estimate invoice that has a line-by-line itemization of the costs. This detailed estimate is important, because you should never approve the recovery unless you know exactly what you're paying for and why.

SalvageData has multiple solutions for external hard drive data loss caused by external damage. If a portable, external hard drive is dropped and damaged, the service can fix a number of resulting issues, such as broken connectors, broken motors or controller chip failures. If your external hard drive isn't being detected by your computer and is making odd noises such as loud clicking or grinding, it may indicate a mechanical failure in your drive. SalvageData has a supply of spare parts from various manufacturers to get the drive running well enough for the technicians to extract the data and transfer it to a new drive.

SalvageData can recover files from all types of media and operating systems. The service can also perform onsite and remote recoveries, which is when a technician accesses your computer through an internet connection to perform logical recoveries (where there is nothing physically wrong with your hard drive).

Since data loss doesn't always occur between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., SalvageData provides 24-hour assistance. The company also has a self-service portal online, where you can log in and track your case. Cases are updated every 24 hours.

Recovery Environment

One of the most critical features of SalvageData is its certified ISO 5 Class 100 cleanroom. A cleanroom is essential for recovering data from a damaged hard drive because the platters that contain recorded data are extremely sensitive. It's far too common for hard drive recovery services to claim to have an ISO 5 Class 100 cleanroom when, in fact, it's not certified, and it's not a dedicated room but a workstation. You can find the ISO certificate on SalvageData's website. The service claims that the cleanroom is certified annually and lists its latest certification from May 2017.

The company also holds and displays an ISO 9001:2008 certification, which is a quality control audit with customer service and satisfaction standards set by the International Organization for Standardization.

SalvageData has authorization from the biggest hard drive manufacturers, including Apple and Microsoft, to work on their products without voiding the customer's warranty. This way, if the drive fails due to a manufacturer error, you can still return the product for a replacement after the data is recovered.

Security Protocols

SalvageData is one of the few hard drive recovery services to carry an SSAE 16 SOC 3 report of its data privacy and security protocols. A SOC 3 report is for public use and is the highest level of security certification a data center can receive. This certification ensures that the service practices internal controls, policies, and procedures that meet the stringent security and privacy standards set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Aspects concerning client relations are also considered for this certification, including confidentiality, availability and processing integrity.

This is a remarkable achievement for an organization. SalvageData adheres to strict security protocols that regulate both facility and computer access. Employees who have access to the cleanrooms are thoroughly screened before they are hired. The audit is performed by a third party annually.

SalvageData is also a GSA contractor, which means it's authorized to work on cases from government organizations, and is also compliant with HIPAA so it can work on cases involving private health information.

The premises are under full surveillance. All of the rooms use biometric locks, which both track and control access to sensitive areas. All recovered data is automatically encrypted using 256-bit encryption, and technicians are forbidden from opening and browsing client files. The hard drives are fully tracked and are destroyed once the information has been retrieved. You can trust this service with your sensitive files.

Customer Service

We contacted SalvageData posing as a small business owner seeking its services. Representatives were quick to respond, quickly ascertaining the type of problem we were experiencing just by asking a few questions and quickly providing their recommendation on how to move forward. They were polite and respected our decision to shop around with other services.

SalvageData features several channels to contact them, including live chat on the website, a customer portal and a 24/7 hotline to call in emergency cases.



The Best Hard Drive Recovery Services of 2019

The Verdict

SalvageData is our best pick for external hard drive recovery. It provides a quick and painless evaluation process with attentive, consistent customer service. Further, its cleanroom and data security and privacy controls are certified by a third party.

Andreas Rivera
Andreas Rivera
Andreas Rivera graduated from the University of Utah with a B.A. in Mass Communication and is now a staff writer for and Business News Daily. His background in journalism brings a critical eye to his reviews and features, helping business leaders make the best decisions for their companies.