WITHOUT A TRACE
In the immaculate world of data security, Reclamere cleans up.
Reclamere debuted in 2001, at the dawn of Y2K, attempting to recycle the leftover computers that many feared would self-destruct at the beginning of the new millennium.
When businesses worldwide conducted major hardware upgrades, and the old machines piled up in supply closets, Angie Singer Keating, Joe Harford, and Bob Dornich had their eyes on the gold. Literally. Back then, one could take old computers apart for their internal gold pieces. Keating, Harford, and Dornich went as far as obtaining an SBA loan for Reclamere, their recycling/goldmining gig, before realizing they were in business with a bit of a flawed business model.
Seeking advice, the three owners connected Reclamere with everyone who could help their fledgling business, starting with the local Ben Franklin Technology Partners. They were kindly rejected…but encouraged to come back another time after Keating and her team considered a few notes. In fact, all the reasons Ben Franklin decided to pass–including issues with marketing, accounting and other business processes–are exactly what got Reclamere accepted on a second go-round. "They made us better," Keating finds.
The team also approached Altoona Blair County Economic Development Corp. (ABCD) and Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission (SAPDC) for additional guidance. "At the local level, Pennsylvania Economic Development is incredible" finds Keating. "I will sing their praises all day long." She notes specifically that she appreciates Ben Franklin because "it is not free money. They map out the business metrics they expect you to hit before you get the next installment." Plus, she finds that "Pennsylvania is a wonderful place to raise a family," a situation most young businesses find to be an unexpected blessing.
In 2002, a year older and with a firmer business plan, Reclamere was approached by an existing recycling client with a new request: data destruction. Thanks to the then-new Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, many highly regulated industries like healthcare, banking, education and law were struggling to keep their clients' private health information private. At the same time, they were just beginning to conduct more and more business digitally. As Keating discovered, "security became their number-one concern." Therefore, she, Harford and current president Bob Dornich fine-tuned their recycling prowess into data security and figured out the best way to start wiping hard drives clean.
Reclamere began serving companies who needed to move a bank of computers from one highly sensitive department to another, or planned to buy all new machines and make sure the olds ones left the building without a trace of data. Word spread, and local and regional businesses turned to Reclamere to cover their collective necks with capabilities like the proprietary Data Destruction device, which removes data from as many as 1,200 hard drives in an 8-hour cycle while performing a 100 percent forensic quality control check of all drives.
But the ease and efficiency with which businesses were suddenly sharing information created a new problem: being able to protect it. Keating's team decided it could secure and recover data just as easily as they could destroy it. This inspired the Reclamere Data Recovery Lab, wherein their security experts could do everything from recovery data on a single hard drive to recovery data from highly complex servers with multiple drives.
So as business communication continued toward the virtual–some reports say up to 95 percent of it–hardly anyone printed things for permanent backup. Cue yet another Reclamere opportunity, this time to develop an e-discovery, litigation support, and security risk management services channel. With it, their forensic experts can recover email, social-network posts and instant-message evidence out of the ether, and their expertise frequently assists in the prosecution of computer related crime.
While Reclamere isn't the only company of its kind, its most competitive advantage is that they never outsource. "There are plenty of unsavory characters out there" finds Keating, who might have other interests in the data you no longer need. Not the least of which is the federal prison system, on which the federal government itself relies for its computers' data destruction. The other non-Reclamere possibility for getting rid of outdated hardware is rampant illegal dumping, which is pretty much as dangerous as it sounds.
Exactly why Reclamere prides itself on its staff members, including forensic engineers accepted at state criminal court and a federal-level expert witness. Keating vets every employee like she does a clean hard drive: every one is bonded, covered by a three-million dollar insurance policy and background-checked for all the states and counties in which they've lived in the past seven years; Reclamere also performs credit and social-security number checks, along with a less scientific–though no less thorough– character analysis.
Reclamere's ten years of non-stop growth has been inspired by new customer needs, which come compliments of new cultural swings. While currently most customers live in the Mid-Atlantic region, Reclamere, at 34 employees strong, just bid on a large law firm with international offices---no doubt inviting a host of new security issues, and with them, innovative solutions.