Tape Exchanges and Vaulting: A Dynamic Duo for Your Backup Plan

Topics: Offsite Tape Vaulting

Have you incorporated a data center or colocation into your backup strategy in order to keep a firmer grip on your data? Here’s what still may be missing from your plan.

Does your company handle tape swapping, scanning and vaulting completely on its own, or do you work with a colocation service or data center? In either case, you may be missing out on time- and resource-saving opportunities.

For instance, are you having an IT staffer leave the office to swap tapes periodically at a colocation? Or maybe you have someone at the colocation facility to zip down the hall now and then to swap tapes. But are you sure it’s all getting done? Will the Chain-of-Custody be preserved? And how much does the colocation company charge for this service—if it provides it at all?

You may instead want to consider teaming with a trusted partner to handle tape rotation. In this scenario, rotation occurs regularly and securely. And it’s done in a secure, efficient way that preserves Chain-of-Custody. You can also engage a partner to vault backups at a secure offsite facility.

Testing, 1-2-3

If your data isn’t properly stored, protected and retrievable when needed, your organization may be crippled when it’s time to recover on demand. Of course, the only way to know this for sure, barring an actual business interruption, is to test the entire process—a step that many companies omit, but that a capable partner gladly provides. It’s a worthwhile investment. After all, do you want to discover any shortcomings when you’re facing down a discovery process, an audit or, in the worst case, a disaster?

Team with a partner to vault and protect those valuable tapes and the information on them—and to periodically test your disaster preparedness. Knowing that the people handling your tapes follow robust security processes can ease your worries. You’ll know that your tapes are protected from start to finish, giving you peace of mind. And if disaster strikes, you’ll know that this level of data protection means you’ll be back up and running in no time.

Seeking a Partner: Be Your Own Matchmaker

Vaulting your tapes offsite turns the responsibility over to a partner skilled and experienced in managing and protecting information, and in ensuring that your tapes are rotated, transported to the vault, and protected under proper climate conditions. But you still must select the right partner for your organization. The best one will:

Adhere to robust security measures and policies. Make sure that the couriers swapping and transporting your tapes are vetted, and that the data itself is protected at all times. Ask if a two-driver system is available; it ensures a constant watch over your precious cargo.

Provide climate-controlled facilities. Despite tape’s strength, it can degrade over time. Your tapes will fare better and last longer in a vault that’s cool, dry and protected from the elements.

Rotate tapes. Your partner can swap your media at a colocation facility and then transport tapes to the vault, ensuring a strong Chain-of-Custody.

Track tapes and information. You need to know what’s on your tapes and where to find them. Couriers can scan onsite and provide swap confirmations.

Identify and implement greater efficiencies. An experienced partner will proactively identify aspects of your program that need enhancement and help you make those improvements.

Work on your schedule. Tape rotation and transportation should be performed on your terms. Your partner’s couriers should be well versed in your company’s specific needs and expectations.

By outsourcing tape rotation and vaulting to a trusted partner, you can rest assured that your tapes are being swapped on schedule and are protected from start to finish, freeing you to concentrate on mission-critical tasks. And you’ll find it easier to strike that delicate balance between preserving the past and working toward the future.


Iron Mountain Suggests: Peace of Mind, including BackupCare™

You’ll rest easier when you engage Iron Mountain to vault your media, build a disaster recovery program and provide its unique BackupCare tape-swapping services. Here’s why:

  • An extra level of preparedness. Storing backup tapes at a geographically discrete offsite location greatly enhances your ability to recover from a regional disaster.
  • Everything in its right place. Media are housed in a secure, protected storage facility and handled, transported and stored following environmental standards based on manufacturers’ recommendations.
  • Unmatched tracking abilities. Iron Mountain’s tape-by-tape, file-by-file tracking and auditing services provide for most any scenario. For example, the InControl® solution scans tapes at key transition points. Disaster recovery pick (DRP) codes let you arrange in advance which backup tapes you’ll need for disaster recovery—and in what order you need to receive them. And when your scheduling is done through Iron Mountain SecureSync®, you’ll get a unified view of your remote-site backups.
  • On call when it matters most. If disaster strikes, expect data restoration as quickly as you need it, as per emergency provisions in your Service Level Agreement (SLA). Your media returns in the same condition it was in when you sent it offsite.
  • Always on the case. The SecureSync® Web interface will help you monitor, manage, search, locate and retrieve your data anytime, anyplace—you enjoy complete visibility and control. And 24/7 access frees you from the constraints of dealing with a problem during normal business hours.
  • You’re secured. With all these services in place, you’ll spend less time defending disaster recovery procedures to internal and external auditors.

The three key benefits of BackupCare™ services. When you opt for Iron Mountain’s tape-swapping service, you’re tackling those aforementioned crunches—personnel, cost and emergencies—head on. By having trained professionals handle your tape management processes, you’re freeing your staff to conduct its core business—and that makes optimal use of your payroll dollars.


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

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