Many businesses still use traditional methods to backup and store their data, most commonly tape. However, despite advances in tape technology, this method still presents a number of potential risks. Listed below are some common problems associated with tape systems. Maintenance & Management Tape technology requires a high level of commitment from the team of engineers assigned to managing it. Every step of the tape backup process relies on manual processes: inserting tapes, rotating tapes, labeling tapes, transporting tapes off-site for storage and searching for tapes for recovery purposes all take time and energy. Ideally, full backups need to be carried out on a weekly basis, leading to long backup windows and large backup volumes. Human error In larger organisations, a designated engineer will typically be assigned to manage the tape backup process; however, in smaller outfits the role may be shared, often amongst employees who lack experience or motivation to tend to the process. Sharing responsibilities amongst ill-qualified staff can result in chaos when it comes to recovering and restoring lost data. The potential for human error also means tapes can be dropped and broken, or even lost, which presents a number security problems. Costs There can be high upfront costs associated with onsite backup systems, particularly so for multi-sited businesses that are constantly expanding. As well as the constant need for hardware investment, the cost of employing full-time engineers to manage the systems can soon mount up. Access to data When data is backed-up to tape, it is typically shipped and stored in a secure off-site location. This presents a big problem when is comes to accessing that data for recovery purposes as it can take up to 24-36 hours before the data is sourced, shipped and recovered. This can be crippling for a business that relies on immediate recovery to function fully. Scalability A growing business will inherently need to accommodate growing levels of data as it expands. This means that the tape backup system and and tape libraries need to be upgraded regularly to cope with the increasing volumes of data being produced. This can prove a very costly and time consuming exercise in terms of the hardware required and the additional manpower needed to manage it. Damage & loss of data While some businesses store their data in off-site locations, many will contain it onsite. This presents a big risk to businesses as any onsite physical disasters (fire and flood damage or theft) will destroy all data records permanently. An additional worry is that as tapes become old they can break and become unreadable, rendering them all but useless. It’s due to the risks associated with tape highlighted above, that many businesses are now opting to backup their data offsite, using an online backup service: a far more reliable, cost effective solution.

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