Learn the Advantages of Offsite Archiving

When you have complete visibility and control over all media stored offsite, you can track and locate a specific tape, quickly initiate recovery, and retrieve only the tapes you need, saving time and money.

Depending on your industry or the size of your business, you may be legally compelled to store files in a safe offsite location.

The digital archive of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum went online in January 2011, just in time for the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s inauguration. This online treasure lets anyone interested in JFK’s legacy study the issues that shaped his presidency. What don’t you know about the Bay of Pigs invasion? How close was the world to war during the Cuban missile crisis? Firsthand accounts fill these archives.

Even though digital copies of historical files are now available online, the library’s trustees knew the importance of finding safe storage for the master files. They wanted something offsite and highly secure, in case the library’s originals were ever lost, damaged or destroyed. The trustees turned to Iron Mountain, which now houses the files in a former limestone mine 220 feet below the farmland of western Pennsylvania.

The records you need protected—whether original documents or digital data—may not contain artifacts from our nation’s history, but to you and your business, their security is vital.

Getting Started with Offsite Archiving

Although a trusted partner can help you along the way, here’s some good advice.

  • Take control. Build in access controls as you plan your offsite archive so that files are available to employees within your organization on demand.
  • Conduct routine reviews. Times change, so be sure your offsite archive changes with them. For example, while your company might be focused in one area when you create your archive, changing business opportunities could lead to work in new areas. Review your internal projects yearly to make sure you’re archiving essential materials.
  • Ensure data readability and integrity. Offsite archives do you no good if you can’t read them. Confirm yearly that the data is in readable formats. If conditions change, you’ll need to migrate your data to current formats.
  • Test and verify recovery processes. If you need to retrieve information electronically, first perform a test on a computer that isn’t connected to your main office network. If there are errors, they won’t overwrite critical data.

The Seven Secrets of Highly Secure Archives

If your company is doing well, you may have accumulated a crowded room or two of cardboard filing boxes over the years. And you may even like the (perceived) ease of slipping into the file room and hunting (and hunting and hunting) for the tapes you need. But what you lose in proximity you will gain in security and peace of mind by moving all your backups offsite.

Here’s what you stand to gain by working with a trusted partner to create and maintain an offsite archive.

#1: Safety. What if a fire or flood should hit your building? Your essential data could be destroyed in an instant. And consider your customers’ security: You’re putting them at risk for identity theft by keeping information where it can be easily accessed.

 #2: Ultimate climate control. Your office environment might be ideal for the jade plant on your desk, but is it right for long-term media storage? Probably not. Heat, humidity and dust can wreak havoc on tapes and paper records.

#3: A better compliance profile. Depending on your industry or the size of your business, you may be legally compelled to store your backup data in a safe offsite location. Furthermore, you might need to create an end-of-life program for data, to be sure that some files are securely disposed of at a certain time.

Consider the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which requires public companies to keep electronic records for five years and financial records for seven years after an audit. Sarbanes-Oxley even applies to companies preparing for a public stock offering or to European businesses listed on a U.S. stock exchange. A strong offsite data archiving partner can help with all the requirements of these situations.

#4: On-demand access. How many hours does it take your employees to track down a specific email or record? Your backup tapes may be conveniently located in your office, but locating a specific record is anything but convenient. A trusted offsite data archiving company won’t just store your files—it will also organize them and quickly deliver what you need.

#5: Enhanced internal access control. Funny thing about that office storage room—anyone can get into it, from the president to the custodian. That’s not good records security. Archived data should be available only to authorized employees.

#6: Cost efficiency. One benefit of working with a trusted offsite archiving company is that there’s no upfront cost. You’re not building the archive; you’re not staffing it. Your partner has done that work for you. All you pay is the monthly fee.

#7: Enhanced space. A hidden perk of storing your information offsite? You’ll get back a room or more of prime office space. When you think of the real estate you can now put to better use, you might find that going offsite for archiving pays for itself.

Even if you never suffer a data disaster, the benefits of offsite archiving start immediately.

Iron Mountain Suggests: What You Gain

Here’s what you get for taking a little time to safely archive your data:

Confidence and peace of mind. When natural disasters like hurricanes or tornadoes can’t take your company down, you no longer need to fear them. With offsite archiving, you gain the confidence that you can recover from any event at any time.

A higher level of protection. Maybe you’re not Fort Knox, but there are a lot of people who would like to get inside your firewall, or get a hold of some unguarded tapes. They’re called identity thieves, and they’re everywhere. A trusted third-party provider safeguards your data in transit as well.

All-around efficiency. Offsite backup is more than just storage; it’s a streamlined process for identifying and restoring data. That saves space, time and money.

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:

Are You Listening to the Man? Regulations and Your Migration Strategy

Tape Archiving: Still Efficient, Still Inexpensive

Tape Identification: A Smart Step in Data Retention