Four Reasons Why You Need a Backup of the Backup

Topics: Data Archive

Consider storing your backups in a secure offsite data facility far, far away from fault lines, hackers, hurricanes or other potential threats.

All it takes is one headline—like October 2012’s Superstorm Sandy—to start you wondering: Is my business and its crucial data safe from such a dreadful surprise? If it isn’t, it should—and can—be.

Businesses of all sizes have come to see that offsite archiving of backed-up data is a great way to keep it safe and accessible. You may even want to create a backup of the backup that can be recovered quickly in a time of crisis.

According to Iron Mountain's 2014 Data Backup & Recovery Benchmark Report, 28 percent of businesses store physical tape backups offsite, and 20 percent back up with cloud or other online services. Either way, that’s good backup planning, and it’s a best practice you should consider emulating for some much needed peace of mind.

Why do you need a backup of your backup? Consider these reasons:

Reason #1: Your firm stands to benefit from enhanced data security.

Backup tapes are easy to encrypt, easy to transport and easy to access, and they last for decades. By committing your less-accessed archives to tape and moving them offsite, you’re eliminating the inherent risk in having all your data eggs in one basket (namely, your office).

A trusted third-party offsite tape-vaulting partner could offer secure data transport to establish chain of custody. What’s more, online services can give you the archive access you need, no matter how far away that information resides. It just makes sense.

Reason #2: A backup of the backup fosters compliance.

It’s never easy to stay up to date on federal regulations for data archiving and your own industry’s rules for compliance. By working with an archiving expert to create a backup of your backup, you’ll likely find it easier to keep up with constantly changing rules and you should be able to adjust the way you archive as your own business needs evolve over time.

Reason #3: A tape backup system manages overall backup costs.

For large amounts of backup and archiving, tape is the most cost-effective way to store data. Even when businesses decide to use disk- or cloud-based backup, they often still use tape as their backup of last resort because it’s such an inexpensive protection against a data disaster.

It’s easy for a trusted backup partner to automate a backup tape system—and its data capacity is limitless. Tape is also economical: David Reine of Clipper Group found that LTO-5 tape costs up to 15x less than SATA disk for long-term archiving of large quantities of data.

Reason #4: You can create a highly flexible backup system.

Many IT departments have come to realize that their best bet for reliable backup with speedy response times is a hybrid system. In such an environment, you store your most frequently accessed data locally on disk (or perhaps online) and use backup tape (either local or offsite) as a second backup. Tape’s low storage cost per gigabyte, plus its complete lack of energy use in storage (as compared to disk-based data) make it a logical addition to most any backup scenario—no matter how you choose to mix and match backup technologies.

When you make decisions about your data backup and recovery plan, you’re making choices that can affect your business for years to come, so think carefully about all your options and what may work best for your business needs. Check out the documentation that backup services provide, ask questions, and seek out references, preferably from businesses of your size or in your industry. It takes some work. But you just can’t beat the valuable peace of mind you gain from having a backup—and a backup of the backup.

Iron Mountain Suggests: The Most Reliable Offsite Storage

What makes offsite storage safe and efficient? Iron Mountain offers industry-leading features.

  • Security measures to safeguard backup tapes and other storage media during transport and in storage
  • Web-based offsite data-tracking software that makes your backups readily available for recovery
  • Auditing support to track storage media as it moves from your site to the storage site to create a chain of custody
  • A fleet of specially designed transport vehicles
  • A sole-occupant storage facility with strict, appointment-only visitor policies, multiple security controls, proximity to local emergency services and pre-screened employees
  • Secure, environmentally controlled vaults supported by a fault-tolerant IT infrastructure

Looking to the Cloud

Cloud-based backup and archiving solutions can work, but it’s critical to evaluate the service provider’s procedures and promises. Some points to ponder:

  • What does the service level agreement (SLA) guarantee? In a regional crisis (such as Sandy), a cloud provider may find itself overwhelmed by requests for backups. Does it promise the kind of bandwidth you’ll need to get your backed-up data back?
  • How and where will your potential partner store your data, and how many copies will it store?
  • Will it run data restoration tests on your data?
  • Does it comply with the latest data-center security standards such as SAS 70 or ISO 27001?

Do you have questions about data backup and recovery? Read additional Knowledge Center stories on this subject, or contact Iron Mountain’s Data Backup and Recovery team. You’ll be connected with a knowledgeable product and services specialist who can address your specific challenges.

Related News:

Keep That Data Classified: Metatagging Your Way to Spy-Level Security

Ready, Set, Migrate: Ensuring Constant Access to Your Data Archives

Electronic Records Transition: Whats Your Status?