Identify and Destroy: Your Two-Step Ticket to Easier Information Compliance

Topics: Govern Information

Take stock of your data inventory with tape identification, and then use secure media destruction services to eliminate tapes you no longer need. You’ll become more efficient and keep in step with federal and state regulations.

Tape media isn’t going anywhere; in fact, it’s flourishing. Researchers predict a 45% annual growth rate through 2015.

You’re a regular Mr. Fix-It—you always have the right tool for the job. But what good is that great 30-piece set of Allen® wrenches if it takes upwards of a day to find it in your messy garage?

The same wisdom applies to your company archives. As your business grows and you create and store more digital data—much of it on tape—it gets harder to find and retrieve the specific piece of information you need at the moment you need it, making that data much less valuable in the process.

What’s standing between you and the information you need on demand? Often the culprits are records that have reached their retention date. And by not destroying them, you may be falling out of compliance.

Such corporate hoarding isn’t uncommon. In fact, 25 percent of respondents to a survey by Iron Mountain’s Data Backup and Recovery team said they simply keep everything. This leaves them with an archive that risks being not only unmanageable but also noncompliant.

Three Steps to Speed and Accuracy

Tape identification services, which include cataloging and controlling your archive, are key to speeding up typically urgent data recovery requests and to reducing data-retrieval inaccuracies. The process includes three simple steps.

  1. Hands-on accounting: physical control and inventory. The service provider’s team will physically inspect your backup tapes, log the inventory into a database, compare it to your initial logs and produce an accurate master list.
  2. Weeding out the duds: high-level content detection. The service team scans each tape to capture the backup set data (including the backup software, sessions, dates and servers). At this point the team will also set aside blank, damaged, unreadable or incomplete tapes.
  3. Getting down to details: content sampling and visualization. You’ll receive tape samples with data from your target time span and servers, and gain access to detailed configuration information (including mail types, custodian lists and user files). Then you’ll be able to find most anything—and faster than before.

Did You Know?

Your old tapes could end up powering a toaster! Iron Mountain’s partnership with energy-from-waste provider Covanta Energy converted more than eight million pounds of approved nonhazardous material into energy in 2010. This project saved 8,251 barrels of oil and generated enough power to supply 404 homes for a year.

Identification, Then Destruction

Only 17 percent of companies polled in a recent Iron Mountain survey said they have a formal policy for destroying data no longer relevant to their business needs. The leading reason why? Most simply don’t know what they have in the first place.

Putting your tape-based archives through the ID process is an important risk management step. If you don’t understand your company’s information, you won’t know what to protect and for how long. 

Once you’ve completed the initial tape ID process, you can:

  • Keep pace with compliance and discovery obligations
  • Establish and enforce rigorous backup, retention and destruction schedules
  • Use a tape identification service to keep your archives clean and searchable

Your business is on the right track when you understand what you have and keep only what you need. Avoid risk by building a foundation of archives that are retained and destroyed by a solid set of rules, and get faster turnaround for your information requests. Tape ID will help get you there.

Iron Mountain Suggests: Identify, Then Destroy

Iron Mountain® Tape Identification service sets your company up for better, more secure data destruction. Use it to:

  • Identify information on backup tapes
  • Respond quickly when asked to produce critical information
  • Reduce risk of penalties for failing to respond to a legal discovery or compliance event
  • Develop a defensible tape retention plan with the confidence that you’re keeping only the data you need
  • Make more confident retention, destruction and restoration decisions

Once your tape ID process is in place, pair it with the Iron Mountain® Data Restoration and Migration and Secure Media Destruction service to establish a defensible, documented and repeatable process to prepare, transport and destroy your electronic media at your data center or at an offsite facility. Secure Media Destruction helps you:

  • Improve audit readiness using processes that include security personnel monitoring of the destruction process
  • Ensure secure transport of media scheduled for offsite destruction, with dedicated routes, 24/7 GPS tracking and thoroughly vetted drivers
  • Avoid inadvertent disclosures by destroying even your most sensitive or unencrypted data the right way at the right time

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 Content:

Data Restoration: Keeping the Legacy Alive

Four Principles of More Compliant Archiving

Archiving to Tape: Your Key to Swift and Scalable Data Archiving