In an earlier article we did on data recovery, at least one commenter noted that essentially anyone could get into the recovery business and that Flashback was a small fry operation on a completely different level than more recognized names. Of course, the proof is in the recovery results and the client roster, which includes a broad spectrum of commercial and government accounts.
According to Chozick, Flashback’s lead engineers have over 15 years of experience in data recovery. The company has hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment and parts inventory.
“It is very difficult to learn this stuff yourself.,” he says. “It has taken years of R&D to get to where we are. Flashback is not as tiny as we seem. We have a 5000 sq. ft. lab with very high security. We have a four-zone biometric access system to our lab with 24x7 video monitoring. We have full ESD (anti-static) flooring in the lab with copper strips run to ground, so there is no risk of electrical damage due to static. We have a steel evidence cage for secure data that is being stored for media involved in litigation. And for hard drives, we have Class 10 and Class 100 laminar flow clean workstations. Our Forensics Lab is the only private ASCLD internationally accredited lab in the world (ISO 17025).“
Not So Small, After All
The data recovery portion of Flashback’s lab consists of three rooms. First, there’s a large space lined with computers containing solder stations, recovery machines, imaging machines, and firmware machines. The area also contains servers for data storage and similar tasks. Another room stores parts, including thousands of hard drives, different firmware versions, and an avalanche of device models and makes and sizes so that techs have parts on-hand, whether they need circuit boards, internal read/write heads, or anything else. Not least of all, there’s the clean room, stocked with forced airflow workstations for working on hard drives.
One additional layer of security guards the forensic area, where all of the law enforcement or litigation cases go. Flashback uses a big evidence cage (see prior page) that is bolted to the ground with motion sensors all around it.
Again, regardless of Flashback’s size, this article should give you a sense of what goes on behind the scenes of a reputable recovery company trusted with your money, your broken flash storage, and your irreplaceable data. It’s not simply a matter of plug-and-copy. A formidable amount of work and expertise goes into reviving your bits from beyond the pale. We all hope never to need such services, but if the time ever comes that you need them, this is what you can expect to happen.