Media Migration Circa 2100: Ferry Your Data Into the Future

Topics: Data Archive

How much more of your budget will you dump into that outdated storage system? The smarter solution: Create a media migration plan that moves your archived data onto current media for easier, more cost-effective long-term access.

DID YOU KNOW? The White House has created its own 12-month road map for improving access to its archival information. It’s all in the May 2012 report Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People.

FAST FACT: More than 200 million LTO tape cartridges have been shipped since the format’s inception in 2000, representing more than 80,000 petabytes of uncompressed storage, according to the Santa Clara Consulting Group.

You’ve probably never thought of yourself as a curator. But as technology rapidly evolves, the vital information you use to run your business today can be the stuff of your company’s archives in 2018, 2078, and maybe even at the turn of the next century.

So congratulations, you’re the company archivist—or perhaps one of several. As such, you’re faced with a common archiving problem: What happens when the storage medium hosting those archives is technologically trumped over time? You can’t afford the cost or the risk of maintaining obsolete storage systems.

The answer: Move your data to new storage media. By doing so, you’ll likely forego the expensive maintenance of legacy storage systems. You can also gain easier access to your archives, no matter their vintage. Media migration is a smart, efficient move. What’s more, sometimes you have no choice in the matter: It might be the law.

Keep It All on the Front Burner

Many federal, state and industry regulations call for businesses to make their data easily accessible for a designated time period. These laws help ensure that if audit or litigation questions arise, files are readily at hand.

For example, financial services companies are bound by dictates such as the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Rule 17a-4. This regulation requires firms to store certain types of data in an easily recoverable format. It also requires an organization to have an enforceable retention policy, a searchable index of stored data, and offsite data storage.

In addition to federal regulations, individual states have their own rules. It’s a tall order, but the risks of failing to comply or being unable to respond to information requests in a timely manner are more than your business should bear.

Are You Ready for Tomorrow?

A flexible media management strategy can migrate data into the format that best supports your company’s compliance needs and includes an organized archive. This one-two punch of efficiency can prepare you for most of a regulator’s queries. With such a system in place, you should be able to:

  • Access your backup data quickly and efficiently
  • Establish consistent policies and procedures throughout your organization
  • Preserve the right kinds of data for the appropriate length of time
  • Maintain an archive that ensures business continuity and disaster recovery
  • Manage the costs of information storage and destruction

Let the Experts Be Your Guide

Okay, so how can you get all this done without interrupting your everyday information management duties, and without stretching your staff and budget?

When your archival data spans multiple locations, formats and years, a trusted media migration partner can help you collect it and move it to a new format while maintaining a strict chain of custody. What should your media migration partner help you do?

  • Map your information landscape. First you must determine what data resides in your systems and how important each type is to your business.
  • Develop a plan. Start collaborating to build a strategy to migrate data proactively into the most appropriate formats.
  • Assess your security levels. You must protect data through its entire lifecycle. A partner should provide encryption as necessary, as well as secure transport that limits access and ensures chain of custody.

With regard to your actual media storage options, you may be surprised to know that archival storage to backup tape is as technologically advanced and cost efficient as ever. Tape provides a fresh foundation to which you can easily return in the event of a data disaster. As “the backup of the backup,” a high-capacity tape backup system coupled with offsite tape vaulting and tape identification services can address your media migration issues. If you use tape for daily backup but haven’t considered it for long-term archiving, take a second look.

Hit That Fast-Forward Button

Of course, regulations will likely change over time. That’s another reason to make sure your archives are stored and indexed for optimal access. Your trusted partner can help on both fronts, by recommending the smartest strategy for media migration and data backup and recovery and also by keeping you current on the regulations that affect your company.

Get media migration right and you can gain peace of mind from:

  • Staying in compliance
  • Being able to respond to any audit or litigation request
  • Maximizing the value of your archives

Accomplish these feats and you can be an excellent company curator.

Iron Mountain Suggests: Launch a Great Migration

Iron Mountain’s Media Migration services will move your data to the best new format for your business. Iron Mountain can:

  • Monitor regulatory changes in your industry
  • Respond to your data needs with media management best practices
  • Extract your content from legacy media
  • Migrate data into the proper format
  • Protect your company’s information from backup to archive
  • Mitigate auditing and litigation risks by keeping your data in easy-to-access formats
  • Store media offsite for the ultimate in safekeeping and quick retrieval

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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