Ease Your Company’s Fear of Cyber Security Threats with Tape Backups

Topics: Data Backup and Archiving | Disaster Recovery | Data Management

With large-scale data breaches heating up the news recently, you may be wondering what your business can do to protect itself from these advanced cyber security threats, which could leave your company crippled and leak your employee and customer data to anyone with an interest in obtaining it.

Unfortunately cloud backup can't always save you—as some previous hack victims can attest. There are several examples of companies that have had their data backed up to the Cloud, along with robust security measures, but the disruption to their day-to-day businesses was considerable (and still ongoing).

Simple disk-to-disk data mirroring, replication or snapshots also won't address the threat of hackers if their objective is to wipe or corrupt data. In addition, snapshot-based data mirroring technology won't be able to protect a company. When fully committed to the process, hackers can wipe out snapshot stored in the primary storage system. The corrupted primary copy of data can then replicate and corrupt the secondary copy. To fully protect themselves, companies need a way to keep a copy of their data offline and offsite. Tape is the answer.

Why Offsite Tape Storage is the Answer

Recent incidents of hacking expose the need for companies of all sizes to have a backup of their data on physical tapes. This type of backup cannot be interfered with or destroyed because it lives offline. Disk-to-disk or cloud solutions, whilst they offer many benefits, can still leave data vulnerable. This is because they offer a storage solution that’s located online, which by its very nature means it can be accessible to hackers.

In the case of the recent hacking breach surrounding a large media company, hackers released software that deliberately attempted to destroy company data, and to gain possession of every copy of this data for the purposes of ransom. If that organisation had had an offline and offsite backup solution, it would have had the confidence of knowing its last copy was virtually unobtainable.

Tape is a Necessity

Despite major advancements in tape storage technology, it still has its critics within the storage industry. These dissenters argue that managing tapes is a more cumbersome process than managing disk-to-disk or cloud backup. They also claim that it’s more difficult for their IT professionals to obtain access to data on tapes, and that it’s more unreliable and more expensive than disk or cloud.

Tape technologies have evolved significantly and made considerable progress in these areas in recent years. Today’s reality, according to the leading industry body, Tape Storage Council, is that tape reliability levels “exceed that of the most reliable disk drives by one to three orders of magnitude. The BER (Bit Error Rate ‐ bits read per hard error) for enterprise tape is rated at 1x1019 and 1x1017 for LTO tape. This compares to 1x1016 for the most reliable enterprise Fibre Channel disk drive.”

It’s important to note that tape shouldn’t be used as a primary form of disaster recovery. Tape is better suited as a secondary, tertiary or archive storage target: your offline, offsite last line of defence. In a recent Quinstreet study of IT professionals, tape was the most popular technology for secondary backup with 37% of respondents, and it is also the second most popular choice for tertiary backup.

Think of tape as your failsafe last resort. Tape is a necessity for your company, especially if it ends up being targeted by hackers. In the event of such a disaster, even if your data is a week old, it’s preferable to have physical copies of information that’s a bit dated than to lose everything, particularly when the security surrounding those physical tapes is of the highest level. In the words of one of our experts, “The one thing you can’t go out and buy is your own data.” Prudent IT managers will always have tape backups. At Iron Mountain we recommend that you have at least two copies of every data set, and with tape being the most inexpensive backup medium, you can afford to store increasing amounts of data.

Invest in Iron Mountain Offsite Tape Storage

To ensure your data is kept out of the virtual hands of hackers or thieves, you need to make sure it’s accessible only offline and offsite. Choosing a supplier to securely store your information in a disaster-proof facility is the only ironclad solution.

With Iron Mountain® Offsite Tape Vaulting service, you can securely store your backup data, protect it under optimal environmental conditions and retrieve it when necessary. You’ll gain:

  • confidence that you can quickly and securely recover from any event, at any time, regardless of location
  • a streamlined process for identifying, restoring and delivering the information contained on a specific tape
  • complete protection for data in transit and at rest.

We store our clients’ data in highly protected facilities that offer increased protection from earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters. Plus, the SecureSync® web interface gives you the visibility to manage your data online and quickly locate a specific tape whenever you need it. As your media moves to and from a secure Iron Mountain facility, our InControl® solution gives you peace of mind by scanning this media at key transition points, creating a verifiable chain-of-custody.

Contact us today to learn more about Iron Mountain tape storage.