“Smaller companies have realized that it’s better to recover rather than recreate data”

India’s data recovery market is still in a nascent stage. Indian enterprises prefer to take the help of IT support staff in the case of data loss rather than that of skilled professionals. Sunil Chandna, CEO, Stellar Data Recovery, talked to Pupul Dutta about the unorganized sector that is popular in India and the company’s upcoming product launches

What are the solutions that you offer in the sphere of data recovery?
We specialize in data recovery and provide solutions for anybody who is affected by data loss or unavailability of data. A free trial version of the software is available online. Our products are available through the Internet as well as through retail channels. The solution is offered in 150 countries now and we have a wide range of data recovery solutions ranging from conventional software for Windows and Mac, to any kind of operating system for the desktop like Linux etc. We also offer specialized solutions to recover photos from camera memory cards helping people restore lost or deleted pictures.

Solutions for enterprise versions of server-based software such as SQL Server etc are also part of our catalog.

Besides all these, we provides solutions for corrupt files. We have tools that repair all types of corrupted files including Microsoft Office, images, and much more. There is support available for e-mail including Outlook Express and Lotus Notes—from the end user to the enterprise level. Password recovery is also supported.

Tell us about the Indian market for data recovery solutions.
The kind of offering that Stellar has is not very popular in India. However, we have a lot of B2B customers here. A rough estimate of the industry would be around Rs. 50 crores.

The unorganized sector would be our biggest competition. Lots of consumers are still unaware or don’t even want to make an attempt to know about these products. As far as enterprises are concerned, the  high cost of infrastructure and inventory makes them shy away from adopting these solutions. Most companies in India are not offering data recovery. It is usually done by IT support staff or the service vendors but not by skilled professionals. Given the price sensitivity, there is no market as of now.

Are the customers accepting these solutions as a necessity and not as a cost?
There are two patterns visible here. Earlier, business came solely from the B2B segment and there were hardly any SME customers. However, smaller companies have woken up to the cost efficiency of recovering data rather than recreating it. SOHO still remains untapped as there are no single users who believe in restoring lost data or corrupt files.

With advances in technology, there are more complications in the way that data is stored. At the same time, the increased threat of virus attacks, data pilferage or systems crashing exists. People are slowly adopting these solutions as an investment rather than as a cost.

What are the technology trends that you expect to become popular this year?
There will be a major change in desktop and laptop storage with Solid State Drives (SSD) coming in. These will become more affordable as the production rates improve.

Conventional hard drives are slower and with SSDs the performance would improve substantially. Nevertheless, one thing that people have forgotten is that even SSDs crash. The technology is complicated, takes more time to recover and hence it is expensive.  Storage on the network is moving to SSDs. This trend, in particular, would be more pronounced in desktops and laptops. Hence, more tools need to be developed around this technology. 

We will have three major releases this year. The first one occurred in January at Macworld Expo. The second would be a Windows data recovery tool which would be launched next month that will be compatible with Windows 8. Lastly, a new version of the photography tool will be launched.

Would you share the company’s expansion plans for India as well as globally?
We have 12 locations from which we operate in India. The major change would be in the eastern region where we lacked a presence. We intend to set up an office in Kolkata.

In Europe, we would expand our reach. We had a barter program for Netherlands and Belgium where we partnered with five IT firms for data recovery by virtue of which our reach increased considerably.

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