Digit: What kind of services do you offer?
Sunil: We actually give our customers two choices:
1. To choose a downloadable tool to recover or repair a situation you are in – there are about 80-90 different tools, for consumers or enterprise to be able to do this and all work on the similar model for free trial edition – you go to the website, download the trial and do a free scan. You can see everything that’s recoverable but to actually extract those files you buy a licence. We have about 2 million users worldwide and we have language variants localised in German, French, Italian and Spanish. We even have iPhone recovery tools that let you recover deleted WhatApp chats as well.
2. Other than these software we have professional data recovery lab services wherein the consumer brings in the devices and we recover in our premises.
Digit: Can you talk about consumer data protection as an emerging concern?
Sunil: Absolutely. We have software that does secure wipes since businesses have their own needs in terms of very critical confidential information. Sometimes when they are handling customer data it is very important for them to secure it. In fact, later this year we have a privacy bill coming in this country. It was tabled twice but didn’t happen during UPA regime and now we’re expecting it post GST and the Land Acquisition Bills which will mean that the companies will have a more regulatory and statutory obligation to protect their customer’s data and if there’s a breach there can be severe penalties. Technically even with the current IT Act, consumers can sue say a bank or insurance company or a telecom company if personal info was compromised but there’s no upper limit for compensation.
Sunil Chandna, Co-founder & CEO at Stellar Information Technology Pvt. Ltd
Digit: Nowadays, off location backups to the cloud are prevalent for enterprises as well as individual users on their cell phones. Don’t you think your services, going forward, are going to be redundant?
Sunil: When the cloud started, we thought so too, when more hard drives started being adopted we thought the same again. But maybe if you do a survey with ten of your friends, you’ll see that most of them use the cloud, to the extent that is available for free which is say 20 to 30 gigs. And data is no longer the same today. The cameras are 64 gigs, so in one short holiday, you consume two cards sometimes, so there is no way you can handle that.
Digit: Yes only consumers that are extremely conscious keep wiping and organising...
Sunil: … And cleaning it up yes. Usually they pile up pictures and often it can reach 700 GB plus which they can’t put it on the cloud. Most users don’t actually use external hard drives very well. Once in a while as a dump and that too only for a collection of movies or old stuff but not as a backup but an archive. That is kind of creating a challenge. So in theory if everybody had one cloud backup along with an external hard drive, we should be out of business!
In a practical situation, in an enterprise, the servers are backed up very well. But the users, who have desktops have been given a method – there is ample space on the network but say I’m traveling, and I’m not allowed to access the corporate server over the hotel WiFi. Then when I’m back there is too much to do and I’m not using the backup application as prescribed. There’s this gap in this case. Data as a resource and in terms of importance to an organisation, is tremendous. It can result in hard losses in several hundred crores sometimes.
Digit: How much data do you recover annually?
Sunil: Last year we received on average 30,000 drives for data recovery with a success rate of about 70-75%. Strangely, many people experiment with local unskilled guys before coming to us.