Backup tape management could help IRS after all

By Michael
August 5, 2014

The ongoing IRS scandal involving two years’ worth of missing emails might be coming to a head thanks to some older backup tapes. According to The Wall Street Journal, some of the messages in question could be housed in a series of tapes that previously were claimed to have been recycled.

The issues began during an audit inquiry with Congressional groups looking into claims of conservative groups being unfairly targeted by the IRS. During its attempts at compliance, the tax authority found a huge quantity of email records had been lost due to a damaged hard drive. At the same time, backup tapes associated with those documents were said to already be destroyed. While these tapes were cleaned and recycled in compliance with information management standards, it still left the agency with no legacy tracking or compliance capabilities in the matter of the missing information.

Politico wrote that IRS deputy associate chief counsel Thomas Kane now thinks there could be residual traces of these records on other backup tape assets.

“There is an issue as to whether or not there is a – that all of the backup recovery tapes were destroyed on the six-month retention schedule,” Kane said at a recent committee hearing.

The hard drive at the center of the controversy has been reported wiped clean by a number of IT and other professionals, Politico added. However, if the tapes Kane mentioned really do house traces of email conversations from 2009 to 2011, data loss prevention tools could help recover the information or provide definitive diagnosis as to whether these records are still viable.

In such cases, B&L’s Vertices can be helpful to private and public firms trying to perform similar recovery and audit procedures. Such a backup tape management tool helps assure accountability in any enterprise environment.

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