In today’s digital age — whether at home or in business — the data on your computer is a precious commodity. As such, the most vital thing you can do is to make sure you protect it.

“People need to back up their data, and make sure they have multiple copies of a backup if they can,” says Anisha Gupta, CEO of Stellar Phoenix Solutions, which specializes in recovering data from failed hard drives. The company recently moved into Carnegie Center.

Gupta suggests that data from your computers be backed up onto an external hard drive, and then the drive be turned off after the backup to lessen the chance that it will fail. Backing up data online to the “cloud” is also an option. Companies are available that charge a monthly or annual fee.

But when hard drives do fail, and there is no backup, services like Stellar Phoenix can often recover data that would often take days or weeks to rebuild — if it can be reproduced at all.

Born in New Delhi, India, Gupta moved to New Jersey six years ago to live with her husband, who has been in America since 2004. Her father, who still lives in New Delhi, owns a home appliance manufacturing business, and her mother is a homemaker.

Gupta earned an MBA from the Institute of Management Technology in Ghaziabad, India, in 2006. From 2009 to 2011 she worked for Stellar Information Systems, one of the largest data recovery companies in the world.

In 2011 Stellar closed its operation in America, and Gupta decided to start Stellar Phoenix. “I took over their technology, which includes 17 years experience,” she says. “I bought all of their tools and started this business.”

Gupta says Stellar Phoenix can recover data from any kind of a crashed hard dive — including SATA, SCSI, solid state, and IDE, and from any operating system, including Windows, Mac, Linux, and UNIX.

“We have solutions that not many people have,” she says, including Stellar’s proprietary data recovery technology.

“We have a 98 percent success rate, and the capability to personalize tools so that we can recover 75 percent or more of the data on a crashed drive. Nothing is ever gone; we can almost always recover something.”

The worst-case scenario is when a drive suffers a hardware failure and is making mechanical noises — a “clicking” sound. Gupta says in these cases it is imperative that the damaged drive be turned off immediately or permanent damage to the discs inside can occur. This is when data can truly be lost forever.

In most other cases, the computer will display a drive failure error. Often, it’s an easy process for someone to get the information off the drive themselves by turning off the computer, removing the drive, putting it in an external enclosure, and hooking it up to another computer.

For many people, this sounds daunting. Gupta says she’s happy to help. “I urge people to call and I’ll guide them for free. It’s easy,” she says, adding that the process will determine the severity of the drive’s failure. If further service is needed, the drive can be taken to Stellar Phoenix for recovery.

Gupta says to look for the following signs that a hard drive has failed or a failure is about to occur:

• When the computer boots, it doesn’t recognize or access your hard drive.

• The hard drive is making abnormal noises.

• The hard drive continually restarts on its own.

• The hard drive is silent when the computer is powered up.

• Your computer warns you that there are problems on the hard drive and suggests you run a disk utility.

• The drive causes the computer to lock up while loading, or causes the computer to function very slowly.

• Some or all of your files, folders, or the drive itself can’t be found while in the operating system.

Gupta also says people with failed drives must be careful where they bring them for data recovery. “Is the person an expert? Don’t go to a computer repair shop, or the Geek Squad. It’s like going to a general physician when you need a neurosurgeon.”

“Go to a person who really understands what went wrong on the drive, and can understand what went wrong,” Gupta says, adding that because she knows the nuances of data recovery she can often save people money on recovery over a general repair. Why perform a major surgery when only a minor procedure is necessary?

“I know the job. Someone who doesn’t know may take a longer time to fix it. We are better able to make a diagnosis and not have to go to extreme measures.”

Above all, though, Gupta says, make sure you don’t let a novice try to recover valuable information. “People have entire businesses or life’s memories on their hard drives,” says Gupta. “Things like pictures from their marriage, or their first date, or the birth of a child. Nobody can put a price tag on that.”

Stellar Phoenix Solutions, 103 Carnegie Center, Suite 300, Princeton 08540; 609-644-4800; fax. Anisha Gupta, managing partner.

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