The business case for better backup tape management

By Michael
October 31, 2014

In a world fraught with digital theft and cybercrime, it's important that organizations have robust data management resources to keep themselves and their clients safe. Without backup tape solutions, it's possible that internal hardware can become just as vulnerable as cloud or virtualized systems.

This has become the reality for TD Bank customers, as the Bangor Daily Press showed. The firm found itself in trouble when an employee lost an unencrypted backup device, exposing data on customers from nine different states.

The organization only recently managed to settle the case with its clients, resulting in a payout of roughly $850,000. With about 260,000 people affected across the globe, this may seem like a smaller payout than other major data breaches of its kind. At the same time, it helps draw attention to the fact that organizations need to be more careful with their backup tape management, keeping hardware in-house at all times or at least providing safe destruction of these devices.

Yet this has become a problem for other businesses, as Bloomberg BNA added. Back in May, Science Applications International Corporation had a ruling in its favor following the loss of a backup tape storage tool. In that instance, the drives were left in an employee's car, from which they were later stolen. At the time, the tapes were encrypted, but they also held a wealth of personal and medical information regarding SAIC's clients.

Though there may have been an increased risk of harm, the presence of encryption helped make the case turn out in SAIC's favor. Such backup tape management should be universal in the corporate environment. At the same time, better standards and practices for tape tracking and control need to be put in place. That way, such issues become moot.

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