Just as ice-cream is only as good as the freezer it’s kept in; your valued back-up tapes are only as good as the box you’ve kept them in. Your back-ups hold immeasurable value for your organisation – that goes without saying. But, to keep those back-ups freshly cold and delicious, or well, useful to you, it’s important to consider the way in which your back-up tapes are stored.
With all likelihood, and with some practicality, you currently have stored tapes of data back-ups somewhere on site that have been prepped by your IT Team. I’m sure they’re stored in a very secure place. However secure that storeroom or warehouse space may be, the fact remains that if you keep your back-up tapes on site, they remain vulnerable to any disaster that threatens the original files the back-ups are meant to be protecting. Say a fire takes the office, are your back-ups far from harm? Say a flood sends ruinous damp through the warehouse, are your back-ups far from harm? Say a security bungle lets a nefarious foe in, are your back-ups far from harm?
It’s a big wild scary world out there for your back-up tapes. They’re vulnerable to several different threats:
- Humidity (or moisture damage)
- Pests – yes, pests. The kind of creepy crawlies that can do to your hard copy back-ups what your dog did to your homework.
- Data breach (or data theft)
- Water leakage
- Suspended particulate matter in the air
- Too much heat
- Electromagnetic waves – to which your magnetic media is particularly vulnerable
That’s more than enough threats to worry about.
While there are some sensible measures you’ve already taken to take care of your back-ups, it’s safe to say it’s not quite enough to put your tapes in plastic airtight packets or place them in air-conditioned environments. The question for you and yours should be, what’s the best option? What’s the best way to store your back-ups to make sure they’re protected from calamitous disaster? What’s the best way to protect your back-ups from Earth, Wind and Fire? And other beloved 70s funk soul bands?
Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to protect your data back-ups. Unfortunately, there’s a lot you must do, to protect your data back-ups.
- Keep your back-ups offsite.
- Forget rooms or warehouses, your back-ups need a protected vault.
- Consider the location of your vault, keeping it far from home. This minimises the chance both sites fall victim to the same calamity.
- While maintaining distance between these two sites, you also need to be able to keep your back-ups secure and protected. It may be worth considering remote monitoring facilities.
- Have multiple back-ups in multiple places. It can be a dangerous misstep to keep everything in the same place, the principle of protecting your assets being the same: the more things in the same place the increased likelihood they may fall victim to the same calamity.
- Ensure your back-ups are secure not just at your storage sites but whenever they’re in transit. You’ve seen the prison escape movies, you’ve seen the heist movies. They always wait ‘til they’re on the move.
- While security is paramount, it’s important to maintain accessibility when it comes to your back-ups. Data that you need but cannot get to is not much good to you.
- Ensure your data back-ups are managed by a retention schedule to make certain you’re not wasting resources on protecting outdated or irrelevant data.
These are your essential goals in establishing a safe and practical plan for your off-site back-up tape storage. Achieving these will minimise your risks and keep your back-ups safe.
But that’s no small task! For your time and your dollar’s sake, it’s worth considering partnering with an off-site tape storage partner. An off-site storage partner can take care of your entire plan; an entire plan which is comprehensive of your organisation’s specific and individual needs.
And who might that ideal off-site storage partner be? To get in touch with ZircoDATA today to start work on those comprehensive storage plans call 13 ZIRCO, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the link.