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Companies still dropping the ball over backup tape

by on December 25, 2012

Backup tape has been around for a long time. For more than 60 years, organizations of all kinds have been making use of the solid state storage devices, placing reams of sensitive corporate data away on a daily basis as a backup strategy or an archive resource. The storage capacity of these tools continues to grow and their elements constantly evolve, making them more useful than ever to business continuity efforts.

Yet after all this time, firms are still showing consistent issues with managing their data assets. This stretches beyond the backup tape management horizon to all aspects of the information storage world, yet with so long a track record, it’s almost baffling how companies can continue to muddle things up.

Fumbling the tape football
Joining the auspicious ranks of the South Carolina Department of Revenue and NASA this month is IBM partner O2, a mobile operator with an international presence and a problem hanging on to its backup tapes. ZDNet wrote the company recently announced it had to misplaced a tape potentially containing thousands of customer records and a plethora of sensitive data, but because the company failed to implement file tracking software, it actually has no clue what information is contained on the device.

As part of O2’s daily backup procedures, not knowing where the tape has gone has created “concern” in the organization, according to a statement from the company. Despite announcing that the tape was used for system snapshots, the entity has also said it’s not cause for consumers to be worried, which seems incongruous.

Funding data crisis
This sort of obvious file abuse could be caused by lack of funding rather than simple carelessness, though. According to Campus Technology, many businesses have been running out of room on their backup appliances since 2011, and the situation will only get worse. With IT budgets shrinking and Gartner projecting data loads will double annually between now and 2020, there could be increased loss risks if executives and other managers continue to ignore the backup tape management dilemma.

Finding smarter ways of maintaining data systems needs to become a priority among IT personnel. At the same time, though, companies should recognize the importance of properly storing and caring for their information assets, diverting more funding to technology budgets in order to avoid file tracking and backup tape errors.

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