Iron mountain public sector tape restoration use case


Read more about fully-managed tape restoration and data discovery solution that helps government agency selectively analyse and de-risk archived backups.

23. februar 20238 minutter
Iron Mountain Public Sector Tape Restoration Use Case


Years, if not decades of poor data management consumes vast amounts of unnecessary storage in data centres and on backup tapes. As it stays there untouched and continues to grow exponentially, so storage costs and cyber and privacy risks increase, negatively affecting operational efficiency. Equally as concerning, the value of that data is seldom realised. Decision-makers can't access it; much less interpret it. And it's virtually impossible to guarantee compliance because the contents are unknown.


The client, a UK government agency, had a substantial backup tape archive. Stored off-site by a third party, the arrangement had been in place for many years and constituted a clear and present danger of over-retention of sensitive and personal information and non-compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

The agency needed to know what data was on the tapes and what was safe to dispose of. If still required, the data needed to be indexed and classified for future use, segregating any relevant records to meet the Public Records Act requirements. In addition, the client requested a review of their existing record management policy and retention schedule to ensure it was fit for purpose to cover the ongoing management and storage of the restored data.


Over nine months, Iron Mountain Advisory Services worked closely with partner organisations and the agency to complete the whole project end-to-end. Initially conducting stakeholder interviews and workshops, then securely restoring backup tapes, undertaking data discoveries and putting new governance processes in place. Combining the very best in Iron Mountain and partner capabilities, a fully managed service was developed, tested, and deployed.

The project included approximately 50 backup tapes, a subset of the agency's total archive, laden with potentially sensitive information. Once restored, the data could then be discovered, which proved invaluable in identifying:

  • Redundant, Obsolete and Trivial (ROT) information
  • Duplicated information
  • Personally Identifiable Information (PID and Sensitive Pll
  • Specific information relating to sensitive matters needing to be recovered
  • e-Discovery and legal case information

Drawing on those insights Iron Mountain developed a robust, repeatable process for the classification and indexing of the data being retained, based on the agency's record taxonomy as well as for information that may be subject to the Public Records Act requirements.

After completing the detailed analysis and classification, the data could be categorised into one of three categories: Business Value (to be retained by the agency); Historic Value (to be transferred to The National Archives); or No Value (redundant, obsolete, trivial, over retention period, or corrupted, and to be securely destroyed).

A review of existing record management policy and retention schedules was also completed to ensure they included full proof controls and processes for managing the newly restored data were aligned to best practice. Iron Mountain also supported a risk assessment and the creation of a business case for future investment and improvements in information governance.


Suited to other government departments and organisations with a lot of 'dark data' and similar large, complex data challenges, the Iron Mountain managed service improved data usability and adherence with ever-toughening privacy and security laws.

Once incisively supplied with the insight it lacked, the agency was able to make informed decisions before isolating and defensibly destroying or retaining valuable tape content at scale. Importantly, that information is now accessible, compliant, and aligned with record retention schedules, significantly reducing the risk of personal data breaches and possible financial penalties.

In addition, with the creation of a new and accurate index, the agency can quickly retrieve data as and when required to assist with e-Discovery requests or legal proceedings, without having to manually hunt through large volumes of archived backup tapes.


less risk of data breaches and non-compliance


in storage and operational costs


e-Discovery with full data visibility and accessibility


tapes restored, discovered, classified, and migrated