Goodbye for Now: The Joys of Secure Backup Tape Transport

Topics: Offsite Tape Vaulting

Do you question the security surrounding your backup tapes and other media when you’re sending them offsite? Well, you have options. When you opt for secure transport services, you’ll be able to say so long to worry as vital information leaves headquarters for backup and storage.

Tapes in Transit: Proceed with Caution

If you take a carefree stance regarding your backup media’s offsite storage, it may be time for an attitude adjustment. Here are some challenges your backup tapes and other records might face as they’re moved to a remote storage location.

  • They can get lost. Didn’t someone carry that box of tapes to the loading dock yesterday? Where the heck is it?
  • They can be stolen. A PricewaterhouseCoopers report states that there’s a better than 50-50 chance you don’t encrypt your backup media. Data thieves know the odds are in their favor if they get their hands on your information.
  • They can get damaged. Excessive heat is the enemy of tape, so leaving data in the back of a van or car on a hot day is asking for trouble.

Even when Point A is fairly close to Point B, the trip between the two can be fraught with risk—especially for your business-critical data. When you send backup media offsite for storage, the journey must be safe and secure. If it’s not, your company can face serious consequences.

Secured backup data is an essential business asset; that’s why you go to so much trouble to create backups in the first place. Yet many otherwise attentive technology teams sometimes forget that data on these backups must be guarded as zealously as the information on live servers.

In recent years, headlines have told the stories of hackers who’ve wreaked legal, financial and public relations havoc on firms via cyber-attacks designed to steal or expose confidential information. While those eye-popping tales are thought provoking, the far more mundane threat of simply losing a few unencrypted backup tapes during transport could be equally damaging to your business. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report, only 44 percent of North American IT leaders say they encrypt their backup media.

Your confidential business data—financial reports, human resources records, customer files—may ultimately travel outside your headquarters as part of a secure offsite data backup program. So how do you ensure the journey is safe?

Secure Media Transport: Who’s at the Wheel?

First things first: Don’t try to do the driving yourself. Instead, turn to a trusted partner who specializes in securely transporting and storing backup media. Such a firm will offer dedicated transportation services focused on moving backup media directly between your offices and secure, offsite storage locations.

What kinds of security features does this type of dedicated transport provide?

  • Direct delivery. You have the right to expect that the vehicle carrying your data hold only your data, and no one else’s. When a driver makes several stops around town every day, the risk of a data breach increases.
  • Trained personnel. Drivers aren’t simply dutiful chauffeurs; they’re trained security professionals who understand the importance of Chain-of-Custody. They have the tools at hand to track your delivery step by step and to keep you informed in real time.
  • Special vehicles. If you find that your transportation expert really is little more than a “man with a van,” look elsewhere. Find a partner that equips its vehicles to meet your media’s rigorous security and data-integrity demands. 
  • Smart scheduling. It’s your business, so your partner needs to work around your data backup, retrieval and retention timetables—no matter what.
  • Two-driver teams. When you opt for this service-level option, your data is under the watchful eye of at least one person. This covers instances in which one team member may need to step away from the vehicle.
  • Library moves. If you have a large, onetime transporting task—an extensive archive of tapes, for example—your partner should be able to provide the same level of security it does for your everyday needs.

Given how much time you’ve spent developing a secure tape backup plan, it stands to reason that your transport program equally reflects your commitment to security. When you choose the right partner, you can rest easy and get back to business.

BackupCare: The Missing Tape Management Link

Iron Mountain’s BackupCareTM service is a smart addition to your secure tape transport routine and your ironclad Chain-of-Custody. In addition to picking up and dropping off your backup tapes, your Transportation Service Specialist will actually swap your media at a remote data center or colocation facility, then protect it at every juncture as it travels to and from Iron Mountain’s secure tape vaults.

You’ll gain peace of mind knowing that your media is being transported in a dedicated vehicle equipped with Iron Mountain’s InControl® solution, which ensures protection while in transit with patented security, tracking and auditable Chain-of-Custody. Iron Mountain’s fleet of more than 800 secure vehicles makes more than 4 million data protection deliveries per year. With that kind of experience and equipment, you know you’ve found the perfect partner on the road.

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.

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