One-Third of IT Professionals Not Sure What Tape Archives Hold

    Nov 25, 2015

    New research from Kroll Ontrack reveals that despite the large volume of legacy data organizations often have stored on archive tapes, many IT departments don’t have strong plans for managing it, making their organizations vulnerable to compliance and regulatory risks.

    The study also found that 30% of more than 700 IT administrators surveyed from corporate and service provider IT shops around the world don’t know what specific information is stored within their tape archives – even though 30% of them get daily or weekly requests for information stored there that is critical to e-discovery or internal audit.

    The research suggests the combination of frequent backup data requests and poor data maps led to 22% of participants being unable to respond to restore requests from their organizations. They also admitted difficulty in consistently locating and accessing the data needed to facilitate critical business operations.

    “Most organizations are required by law to keep and maintain access to regulated data for a designated period of time. Therefore, maintaining access to legacy data and having the ability to quickly respond to data requests is crucial,” Todd Johnson, vice president of data and storage technologies at Kroll Ontrack, said of the study’s findings. “Overstrained IT resources and the fact that nearly one-third of organizations struggle to even know or understand the data stored on their company archive or backup tapes is a real challenge and could put an organization at risk if they are unable to produce in a timely manner.” 

    This problem was also identified in a study from Iron Mountain and the International Data Corp. (IDC); 49% percent of those respondents said that lines of business lose significant productivity searching for archived information that is difficult to access. (For more information, see the NewsWire article “Who Owns Data Management? IT, Legal Disagree.”)

    According to ARMA International, both of these studies underscore the importance of organizations developing, implementing, and ensuring compliance with an effective retention and disposition schedule; this allows them to destroy information when the legal and regulatory requirements for it have been met – if it is not relevant to any pending litigation and it is destroyed through approved processes. This reduces storage costs and demonstrates that it is a routine part of the organization’s business functions, providing the basis for defensible deletion of legacy tapes and backups.

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