With large-scale data breaches heating up the news recently, you may be wondering exactly what your enterprise can do (if anything) to protect yourself from these advanced cyber security threats, which could leave your company crippled and leak your employee and customer data to anyone with an interest in obtaining it.

Unfortunately cloud backup can't always save you—as one of the largest recent hack victims can attest. While this enterprise had its data backed up to the cloud and maintains robust security measures, the disruption to its day-to-day business was considerable (and still ongoing). The company is still trying to determine next steps.

Simple disk-to-disk data mirroring, replication or snapshots also won't address the threat of hackers if their objective is to wipe or corrupt data. In addition, snapshot-based data mirroring technology won't be able to protect a company. When fully committed to the process, hackers can wipe out snapshot stored in the primary storage system. The corrupted primary copy of data can then replicate and corrupt the secondary copy. To fully protect themselves, companies need a way to keep a copy of their data offline and offsite. Tape is the answer.

Why Offsite Tape Storage is the Answer 

Recent incidents of hacking expose the need for large enterprises to have a backup of their data on physical tapes, which cannot be interfered with or destroyed because they are offline. These tapes, when situated in a secured, physical vault like those held by Iron Mountain, cannot be accessed by hackers. Disk-to-disk or cloud solutions, whilst they offer many benefits, can still leave data vulnerable. This is because they offer a storage solution that’s located online, which by its very nature means it can be accessible to hackers.

In the case of the recent hacking breach surrounding a large media company, hackers released software that deliberately attempted to destroy company data, and to gain possession of every copy of this data for the purposes of ransom. If that enterprise had had an offline and offsite backup solution, it would have had the confidence of knowing its last copy was virtually unobtainable.

Tape is a Necessity

Despite major advancements in tape storage technology, it still has its critics within the storage industry. These dissenters argue that managing tapes is a more cumbersome process than managing disk-to-disk or cloud backup. They also claim that it’s more difficult for their IT professionals to obtain access to data on tapes, and that it’s more unreliable and more expensive than disk or cloud.

Tape technologies have evolved significantly and made considerable progress in these areas in recent years. Today’s reality, according to the leading industry body, Tape Storage Council, is that tape reliability levels “exceed that of the most reliable disk drives by one to three orders of magnitude. The BER (Bit Error Rate ‐ bits read per hard error) for enterprise tape is rated at 1x1019 and 1x1017 for LTO tape. This compares to 1x1016 for the most reliable enterprise Fibre Channel disk drive.”

It’s true that most companies aren’t using tape for their primary form of disaster recovery, and perhaps they shouldn’t. Tape does take longer to recover, and most of the time our customers update their tapes weekly, not daily. Tape is better suited as a secondary, tertiary or archive storage target: your offline, offsite last line of defence. In a recent Quinstreet study of IT professionals, tape was the most popular technology for secondary backup with 37 percent of respondents, and it is also the second most popular choice for tertiary backup.

Think of tape as your failsafe last resort. Tape is a necessity for your company, especially if it ends up being targeted by hackers. In the event of such a disaster, even if your data is a week old, it’s preferable to have physical copies of information that’s a bit dated than to lose everything, particularly when the security surrounding those physical tapes is of the highest level. In the words of one of our experts, “The one thing you can’t go out and buy is your own data”. Prudent IT managers will always have tape backups. At Iron Mountain we recommend that you have two copies of every data set.

And remember, if cost is your concern, tape is not expensive, especially given the potential damage to your business in the event of a disaster.

Invest in Iron Mountain Offsite Tape Storage

To ensure your data is kept out of the virtual hands of hackers or thieves, you need to make sure it’s accessible only offline and offsite. Choosing a partner to securely store your information in a disaster-proof facility is the only ironclad solution.

Iron Mountain Recommends: Offsite Tape Storage

With Iron Mountain® Offsite Tape Vaulting service, you can securely store your backup data, protect it under optimal environmental conditions and retrieve it when necessary. You’ll gain:

  • Confidence that you can quickly and securely recover from any event, at any time, regardless of location
  • A streamlined process for identifying, restoring and delivering the information contained on a specific tape
  • Complete protection for data in transit and at rest.

We store our clients’ data in highly protected facilities that offer increased protection from earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters. Plus, the SecureSync® web interface gives you the visibility to manage your data online and quickly locate a specific tape whenever you need it. As your media moves to and from a secure Iron Mountain facility, our InControl® solution gives you peace of mind by scanning this media at key transition points, creating a verifiable chain-of-custody.

Have questions about offsite tape storage? Read additional Knowledge Centre  stories on this subject, or contact Iron Mountain's Data Backup and Recovery team, R.O.I 1800 732 673, N.I. 08445 60 70 80. You'll be connected to a knowledgeable product and services specialist who can address your specific challenges.