In some cases, computer forensics and data recovery are used as interchangeable terms, but have you ever wondered whether this is correct? Is there any difference between a data recovery expert and a computer forensics expert?
At first sight, there isn't. If a company offers data recovery services, then it can also provide digital forensics because the main purpose of the latter service is the goal of recovering data from a storage medium. Simply put, if you walk into a data recovery center or download software, your aim is to retrieve lost data. So, what makes computer forensics different from data recovery?
The answer is in the phase that follows successful data recovery: is it then used for personal purposes or by a law enforcement official to solve a case they are working on?
Data Recovery Is About Getting the Data Back
Imagine a storage medium containing valuable data that has been accidentally formatted. To attempt restoration of the lost files, a data recovery expert will take the drive and run an analysis, checking how much data is recoverable and finally estimating the cost of the process. The price offer is usually underpinned by a list of recoverable files. If the client agrees to the price, the expert will take the necessary steps to get the files back and deliver them on a storage medium chosen by the client.
To achieve this goal, the data recovery expert will use third-party or custom-developed software. In the case of a mechanical failure, however, the expert will use specialist tools to tear the storage medium apart, fix it, and save the recovered data onto a different medium.
Forensics Is the Analysis of the Recovered Data
While the first step, data recovery, is the same as mentioned above, the subtle difference between the two is that a data forensics expert is highly interested in the contents of the storage medium that is to be recovered.
Forensics experts will analyze the data and present a detailed report on the contents of the storage device. This is done for the purpose of assisting a law enforcement official in an ongoing criminal case, and the findings of this analysis could be used as evidence in and investigation. Or the client might be a business, in which case computer forensics can provide answers to questions related to employee exits, employment disputes, or possible employee misconduct and the like.
Also, a computer forensics expert can testify in court if needed, whereas a simple data recovery service cannot oblige the service provider to do so.
So, in essence, forensic recovery is part of the data recovery industry but goes well beyond simple data recovery from a storage medium or cloud service. It is mostly used by law enforcement officials in criminal investigations or by companies searching for answers related to its employees.
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