The use of offsite tape storage has been a critical part of disaster recovery plans for most companies over the past few decades. This article looks at some of the background to using tapes, the reasons for their ongoing popularity and some considerations to make when choosing an offsite storage facility.
At its heart, the purpose of offsite tape storage is a provide a fast efficient way of backing up and restoring your computer system data along with a safe way storing the copies away from the original. In the event of a disaster (floods, adverse weather, etc.) you don’t want your IT systems and backup tapes both being destroyed.
Some wonder why the humble backup tape is still in widespread use given that there are newer faster technologies (HDD, NAS, etc.) that have arrived on the market. The key advantage of tapes are that they work really well and have proven so on many types of operating system over the past decades. It doesn’t hurt that the cost of tapes is very economical and that it is easy to recover lost data from them even after being damaged.
So the next step with tapes is to use offsite tape storage, separate from your place of business (you can always keep onsite copies too). The first hurdle when choosing an offsite facility may well be the legal requirements your company has regarding data protection. If the facility cannot support these requirements then you’ll need to keep looking.
While cost may be one consideration for the facility, you also need to consider location. The facility needs to be far enough away so as to be unaffected by any severe weather your region may receive, but close enough that you can obtain tapes back within your disaster recovery plan time-lines in order to restore systems & data.