MIKE SCOTT ASSOCIATES

PC SERVICES

Business IT Solutions, Systems Analysis, Data Recovery & Internet Services

Computer Forensics, Data Loss Prevention, Data Recovery and Clinical Data Destruction

Computer Forensics: When people see the term "Computer Forensics" they often have an image in their mind of the police taking away computers, hard-drives and bags of discs to be examined in a lab in order to gather digital evidence to assist in a criminal investigation, and although this is one use of computer forensics it is not the only use. Computer forensics are often used in Data Loss Prevention and as an aid in Data Recovery. The software used can access your drives without mounting them, meaning that we can look into what is affecting your files without causing further damage, we can then perform some read only operations and if required make a digital image of your drive for further analysis. This process of capturing data is known as "imaging" and is achieved by making a copy of the hard drive allowing us to view the contents of the computer including those areas that would not normally be visible to the user. We can also use computer forensics to assertain if there has been any misuse or theft of company data, and as our software can examine a drive without leaving a digital footprint the user has no way of knowing that the drive has ever been accessed. By covertly analysing the drive without altering any of the data on it, the business owner can if needed hand the hard drive over to the police who will then be able to use it as evidence in a court case. The captured image can then be cleaned up, copied onto another hard drive and installed into the computer so the business can carry on without any major disruptions.

 

Data Loss Prevention: Preventing data loss is a major headache for companies and while most businesses have stringent backup procedures in place there are still many that don't. Nowadays, most computer tasks can be set to automatically backup as they are being performed, this is useful if you are working on a big project and your software has that feature, if not you have to get into the habit of saving your work frequently. Your computer can also be set to back up your data on an hourly or daily basis and this is useful if you are processing a lot of data. Once you have that set up you then need to look at how these backups are going to be stored and given the size of these files, gone are the days of backing up to a Zip drive while you put on your coat before you head off home. Fortunately there are now many backup solutions available, from mirrored drives to cloud storage with many in between. We recommend using an Uninterupted Power Supply or UPS to allow the transfer of data in the event of a power failure along with a 3 tier system, where a copy of your data is stored away from your premises. If you would like us to help you formulate a backup plan and discuss the various options available to you then please contact us and we will be happy to arrange an appointment to come and see you.

 

Data Recovery: Failures happen, data can become corrupt, drives can become unreadable and this can happen for many reasons. The most common reason for data loss is hardware failure, this can be due to the age of the equipment, a fault in the system or even a loss of power. There are of course many other things that can result in the loss of data including: the accidental deletion of files, viruses, malware, partition errors, formatted hard drives or system crashes which result in the dreaded blue screen. Once this happens your options are limited, you can write off the data if it is old or no longer required,  you can spend time trying to reconstruct the data or if it is important you can see if it can be recovered using one of our data recovery options. We can work with most storage devices including: Hard Drives, SATA, IDE, SSD, Flash Media, Micro SD Cards, SAS, RAID and NAS Drives. The good news is that in most cases the data can be recovered in house and we have succesfully recovered data from failed hard drives, formatted memory cards and faulty USB sticks. If the drive has suffered too much physical damage then we will refer you to one of our associates for a more specialised laboratory recovery.

 

Data Conversion: Many companies still have files stored on Zip, Jaz, Cassette, CD, 3.5" and 5.25" floppy disks and quite often use our services to recover the data from them and transfer the salvaged files onto a more accessible media.

 

Data Destruction: Before you recycle your old computer or donate it to a charity shop make sure that you have removed all of the data from it. Resetting the PC or formatting the hard drive will not remove all your data, even if you have deleted your files prior to carrying out the procedure. If you are wanting to recycle the computer then you will need to have the data wiped from it permanently, this is not only for your protection but is also a legal requirement under the Data Protection Act. Data is stored as binary numbers, by magnetism, electronics or optics and you have to remember that data is not only stored on the hard drive, it is also stored on other components within the computer.  The computer's BIOS for example contains operating instructions, including passwords stored as data in its electronic memory. If you are considering recycling your old tech then you should give us a call and we will carry out an in depth "Clinical Data Destruction" procedure to "Ministry Standards" and return a clean machine to you. We can even re-instate the operating system, drivers and supporting software so that the machine can be donated fully functional.

 

Data Disposal: If you are wanting to permanently dispose of your old computer,  then we can carry out a level one destruction of the components that may contain data, this includes the hard drive, processor, bios and memory chips, we do this by opening the drive, removing the platters and soaking them along with any data and memory chips in a corrosive substance.

 

 

If you require further information or a quotation on these or any of our services please Contact Us.