When choosing a hard drive recovery service, it's critical to find one that has a detailed evaluation process, a proper recovery environment and strict security protocol. Secure Data Recovery excels in every area. It's the only data recovery service we found with a third-party-certified ISO 4 Class 10 cleanroom. In addition to the company's security audits of SSAE SOC 1 Type II and SOC 2 Type I, its security protocols include data encryption, secure storage and comprehensive surveillance. Thanks to its sophisticated and certified cleanroom environment, as well as its comprehensive security offerings, Secure Data Recovery is our best overall pick for hard drive recovery services.
View all our recommendations for hard drive recovery services on our best picks page.
Secure Data Recovery provides several different service options; however, there are no flat-rate prices for these tiers, since the company examines and quotes each recovery job differently. There's its standard service, which provides an evaluation of your drive within 24-72 hours of receiving your hard drive, followed by a recovery period of 4-9 business days. An expedited service speeds up the process with a 2-4--day recovery. A 24/7 emergency service is also available, which immediately starts working on your case and attempts to return your data before 48 hours.
Emergency RAID recovery and other specialized services, such as virtualization recovery, are available, but turnaround time and pricing vary.
Secure Data Recovery offers a "no data, no cost" guarantee. You only pay for the data that the service successfully recovers. For instance, if the company quotes you a price of $1,000 but only recovers half of the files, then the price is prorated. Most clients have recovered files returned on a new hard drive, but online delivery through secure FTP is an option. However, it's limited to 5GB of recovered data for security reasons.
The evaluation process is free and takes one or two business days, which is average in the industry. Following the evaluation, the service provides you with a full-scale diagnostic of your hard drive, along with the cost and estimated date of return. The estimate is a contract. Once you approve the recovery, the price won't increase unless you request additional services. The website even includes detailed instructions on how to ship your hard drive properly so it's not subjected to further damage.
Secure Data Recovery offers DIY software for handling logical data loss. If your data loss is logical, meaning there's nothing physically wrong with the drive, then your best option is data recovery software, which costs much less and means you don't have to send your hard drive off to a lab. It also offers remote recovery, which entails technicians accessing your computer through an internet connection and performing the recovery.
One of the best aspects of Secure Data Recovery is its certified ISO 4 Class 10 cleanroom, where it performs standard recoveries. Accomplishing this requires delicate humidity controls and advanced filters to make the recovery environments as free of particles as possible. A few other services claim to have an ISO 4 Class 10 cleanroom, which has 10 times fewer particles per square meter than the standard ISO 5 Class 100 labs, but do not publicly display a certification from a third-party auditor like Secure Data Recovery does.
While having a cleanroom certified using a more stringent standard doesn't necessarily equate to more successful data recoveries, it certainly minimizes one of the variables that interferes with recoveries – even the smallest particles can contaminate the sensitive hard drive platters and interfere with the recovery process.
Secure Data Recovery is the only hard drive recovery service we reviewed with an SSAE 16 SOC 1 (Type II) security audit as well as a SOC 2 (Type I) audit. While the SOC 1 certification is certainly appropriate for detailing data privacy protocols with concern to financial records, the SOC 2 Type I is a more comprehensive audit of data privacy and security protocols. Many services don't even have one SOC report.
Other certifications this service holds include having Apple Certified Macintosh Technicians (ACMTs) on staff to work on Apple product recoveries. These engineers have received training and approval to work on cases involving Mac OS X systems and are more qualified to work on recovering data tied to that particular file system.
Secure Data Recovery is also a General Services Administration (GSA) contract holder. This means it's approved to take cases from government organizations, including military branches and other institutions. Services with a GSA contract must meet even more security and privacy standards in order to deal with sensitive government data.
This hard drive recovery service always encrypts data using 256-bit AES encryption and a password that works only once. In addition, the company has security measures in place throughout its facility. Every device (hard drives, RAID and solid-state drives) is tracked from beginning to end. Every area of the facility is locked with password keypads, and each employee has their own password, which means employee access is tracked and restricted at all times. The premises are under 24/7 surveillance. No employee is allowed to leave with any media whatsoever. Your sensitive files are safe with this service.
Secure Data Recovery features helpful and responsive customer service that help you determine the level of service you need for your case. Every data recovery case is assigned a dedicated case manager who updates you on the progress and acts as your direct contact with the service, answering any questions and concerns you have. This manager is your main support system throughout the process. The online portal is one of the best we saw, with a complete history log of the case, results and support contacts. You can also see your recovered files from the portal.
The company's website also provides a wealth of educational resources – a blog, articles, proof of certifications and a comprehensive FAQs page. The service gives you all the educational resources you need and makes sure you have access to information concerning the data recovery industry and process, allowing you to make an informed decision.