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Offsite Data Storage

Choosing Back Up Storage

Choosing an Offsite Backup Provider

Once you send your business critical back-up data to be stored off-site, compliance with your own internal best practice is paramount.

When reviewing your off-site data storage provider, you need to have confidence in the knowledge that they understand the importance of the data that they are handling and caring for.

There are four key areas to review:

Storage Environment

Monitoring of the storage environment to ensure compliance with temperature and humidity levels is an essential part of protecting data.

Tapes should not be kept in an environment where rapid changes of temperature and/or humidity may occur, e.g.. near humidifier/de-humidifier units. Storage and operational areas should be dust-free and away from dust-producing peripherals such as line printers. Exposure to direct sunlight or to intense magnetic fields from large electrical devices, magnets and lightning conductors, may cause permanent damage to cartridges, or recorded data, or both and should be avoided.

The storage area should have environmental conditions the same as, or very similar to, those of the operational area within your business.

The storage environment should either adhere to the recommendations as set by the cartridge manufacture or the guide BS4783-8 suggests:

BS4783-8 Storage Environment Guide

  • Operational Area: Temperature ºC5 to 45 / Humidity %20 to 80
  • Non-Operational Area: Temperature ºC5 to 45 / Humidity %20 to 80
  • Long Term Storage: Temperature ºC5 to 32 / Humidity %20 to 60

Protection in Storage

When not in use, cartridges should be suitably stored in their containers. The container should be closed after replacing the cartridge. For extra security, cartridges should be stored within metal, fire-resistant cabinets with lockable doors.

Some, by no means all, but some professional data storage providers will take this to a higher level by providing a fire protected area often referred to as a Vault, which can offer up to 4 hrs fire protection, often enhanced by gas fire-suppressant systems, CCTV and access control. Does your off-site provider apply this level of protection and care to your data?

Handling in Storage

In order to maintain cleanliness, cartridges should remain in their containers until actually placed in the drive unit and the containers should be closed after the cartridge has been removed for use. When handling cartridges, operators should not overcome the interlocks of the cartridge and expose the magnetic tape. No attempt should be made to wind a cartridge by hand. There should be no smoking, eating or drinking while handling cartridges. Cartridges should not be exposed to extreme heat or direct sunlight. All in all, every care should be taken by your off-site data storage provider to maintain the cartridge inside its container at all times whilst in their care. Should there be a need to remove the cartridge from its container, then the above must be applied to prevent damage or data loss.

Transport to & from Storage

Cartridges should be adequately supported to prevent their movement during transportation and the original type of packaging should be used. The packaging should have a clean interior and a construction that provides sealing to prevent the ingress of dirt and moisture. A space of more than 80 mm should exist between the cartridge and the outer surface of the final container to minimize the risk of data corruption by stray magnetic fields. During transportation, extreme changes in temperature and humidity should be avoided. The environment should not fall outside the following extreme limits:

Temperature: 40°C to 45°C
Relative humidity: 5% to 80%

One very common product used by professional data storage providers is the Storm Case® - Storm Cases are the most solid protective cases in the industry. Utilising extensive foam inserts they are more than just a protective shell, they’re fully integrated protection systems. Manufactured with HPX® high performance resin, easy Press & Pull latches and durable soft-grip handles, they’re the toughest transport cases available and perhaps the Storm Case or equivalent should be a pre-requisite of your service requirement.

Data Storage Summary

Ensure your backup data is secure, protected off-site, protected from theft and damage. Fully managed service with daily, weekly or monthly deliveries.

Finding a professional data storage provider that can offer all of the above can only enhance your risk compliance and help you to deliver a truly robust disaster recovery plan.

Please call us for more details about your data storage.

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