You’ve migrated your critical information to a cloud provider. That’s great - but is that data fully protected? There are some very important reasons why your cloud provider needs to provide a tape backup option.

Managing data in the cloud is a compelling metaphor: an invisible, data-sopping sponge in the sky that lets you transfer data anywhere in the world instantly, while providing on-demand recovery. The truth is, it’s not quite as simple or trouble free. Without proper planning and safeguards, putting critical enterprise data in the cloud can lead to business interruptions or even data loss, along with all of the associated downtime costs and regulatory penalties.

Backup Tape Technologies: Sprint Into the Future

For full assurance that your cloud data is safe, you need to evaluate your provider’s data-backup infrastructure. Does it include backup tape? Here are three reasons why tape storage is critical for enterprise data protection in the cloud.

Reason 1: Tape has the offline advantage.

Tape storage is safe and secure. You’re always connected to your cloud-dwelling information, since it’s always plugged into a network and constantly active. The ugly flip side of this convenience? Your financial records, customer files, sales strategies - the very lifeblood of your business - are at constant risk of being corrupted, deleted, infected or hacked.

With these perils in mind, you need to verify that your cloud provider follows best practices for security, including a tape backup that moves sensitive data offline, offsite and away from the threat of viruses, botnets or cybercriminals (while also offering a first line of defence against natural disasters). To strengthen this protection, you should make sure that only a trusted information management provider is transporting tapes between locations.

Reason 2: Tape may not be glamorous, but it is cheaper.

On a per-byte basis, disk remains more expensive to own and operate than tape. Tape is typically eight to 10 times cheaper to acquire and operate than disk storage. And there’s more data to store than ever: 56 percent of business technology managers say enterprise storage is growing by 10 to 24 percent annually, while almost one-third say it’s increasing even faster than that, according to InformationWeek’s 2013 State of Storage report.

The lesson here? Using disk to back up the gigabytes of information your company produces every day just doesn’t make financial sense as a long-term strategy.

Reason 3: Tape will last for decades.

Tape just keeps on going. Under the right conditions, modern tape cassettes should last for 20 years or more, which makes them ideal for storing archival data. Thanks to this longevity, an enterprise can keep point-in-time copies for as long as they’re needed, and as dictated by business requirements and multiple government and industry regulations.

While spinning disks full of data are well suited to hover and hum in a cloud 24/7, the information your company must keep over the long term is better retained with cost-effective offsite tape vaulting. Much like Lestat, tapes can sit in a cool, dark place offline for years. Then, at a moment’s notice, you can call them back into action to produce critical documents.

Ultimately, the cloud alone isn’t the be-all, end-all solution for your enterprise data storage needs. By combining cloud storage with a tape backup approach, you can enjoy all of the cloud’s advantages without running the risk of your data vanishing into the ether.

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