What customers want from data recovery companies -- besides their data back

Survey asks IT personnel for criteria in vetting third parties that handle their data

The officers of DriveSavers had a suspicion that government agencies and other organizations rarely vetted third-party companies they contracted to recover lost data. Why? Because DriverSavers knew that agencies rarely vetted the data recovery company's people.

The company, along with the Ponemon Institute, conducted a survey of 636 information technology security and IT support personnel, and the results confirmed the company’s contention that a large number of security breaches are associated with third-party vendors, said Michael Hall, DriveSavers' chief information security officer.

The two companies presented the survey’s findings to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which has prepared guidelines for improving the vetting process.

The survey also asked participants to develop criteria for vetting third-party data recovery vendors. The criteria include:

  • Proof of internal IT controls and data security safeguards, such as compliance with Statement on Auditing Standards 70 Type 2 auditing. Organizations "want to know that the company that they’re sending their information to can meet their compliance criteria,” Hall said.
  • Training and certification for data recovery engineers in all leading encryption software products and platforms. Hall said that is important for state and federal government organizations mandated to provide encryption on portable devices.
  • Proof of chain-of-custody documentation and a certified secure network. Potential customers wanted to know where their data was at all times, and they wanted to know that it was being stored on a secure network.
  • Vetting and background checks on all employees of the data recovery company.
  • Secure and permanent destruction of data when required.
  • Re-encryption of recovered information so that it cannot be compromised when it is returned.

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