By Ben Puzzuoli, Technical Sales Director at KineticD
April 12, 2013

KineticD Online Data Backup Expert Tips: Dispelling the Myths of the Effectiveness of Tape Backup

Everyday, more and more of us are storing a larger percentage of our important documents in the form of digital files. While the convenience of digital information is clear, the data loss risks involved should be understood equally as clearly; unlike information stored in a hard copy format, digital files can unfortunately be destroyed, en masse, at a moment’s notice. However, the flip side of this situation is that digital information is actually much easier to protect than most of the more traditional forms of information storage, with a wide variety of methods existing in which both individuals and organizations can easily safeguard the existence of their digital assets if the correct steps are taken.

Simply put, the key to preserving the life of digital files is to duplicate them and store that duplicate copy elsewhere, out of harms way. And, if the right method is employed to keep data backed up and secure, one must never have to fret over the possibility of losing their digital files. However, choosing the right backup method is key, with no two methods of data backup being created equal. Unfortunately, many people, and business organizations in particular, are using backup practices that haven’t been updated in years, and many of these relatively antiquated backup methods, while being on the cutting edge when they were first instituted, are now outdated and thus can potentially put these companies in an increased position to suffer data loss.

One of the still remaining “old school” methods of backing up is the use of digital tapes. While the rest of the world is now mostly devoid of tape storage for music, movies, etc., there are unfortunately a number of companies that are still using this outmoded form of data backup. Why is this the case? Well, besides just not wanting to change the way that they’ve always done things, some organizations site the fact that by keeping with their old tape backup systems, they are supposedly saving money in the process. And in addition to this, some businesses fear that backing up their information online could potentially put them at risk of breaching the security of their more confidential files.

When considering these fears, one must first keep in mind that backing up to an online, third party data security specialist is hands down a far more time-efficient method of data preservation than tape backup. After all, any company that compares the pricing of online data backup and cloud computing with that of local tape backup must take into consideration the amount of time that their employees must spend tending to the weekly or daily practice of backing up to tape in the first place. In contrast to this, the services of most online data backup companies, once installed and configured, are usually completely automatic, freeing up time for businesses while also eliminating the possibility of user error ever getting in the way of the backup process.

Of course, in addition to the man-hours lost, there are still many other potential hidden costs that tape backup can bring about for organizations. Tapes cost money, and anyone still using a tape backup system knows that the machines themselves require maintenance from time to time, with the amount of maintenance required obviously increasing as the machinery involved ages. Add to all of this the fact that if a company ends up needing to replace the tape backup equipment, or is actually considering purchasing a tape backup system anew, a large initial investment is often required. Modern day online data backup, on the other hand, is usually supplied at cost-efficient rates, and highly scalable, “pay-as-you-go” pricing structures.

Furthermore, when it comes to issues of privacy and data security, online data backup once again reigns supreme. While the idea of your company’s data being automatically transferred over the Internet to a third party might seem a risky one at first, upon further investigation one will realize that this is far from the case. While it is true that files that are backed up online must be transferred over the Internet, any high-quality cloud vendors worth considering employs the use of data encryption to their clients’ files in order to keep them safe and entirely inaccessible to others during this process. And, the protection shouldn’t end there; files stored online are usually kept in that encrypted form, so that even the cloud vendor themselves cannot access their clients’ files without having a password that only the client knows.

While tape backups are kept “safe” within the companies that are using them, the truth is that they aren’t safe at all! One of the main problems with tape backup, and local vs. offsite backup in general, is that any backup tape that is kept onsite risks succumbing to the same localized threats, such as natural disaster or theft, as the original copy. And, when it comes to security, even if tape backups are moved offsite once they are completed, the are still vulnerable to theft and other threats both during the transportation process and while being stored in whatever offsite location that a company sets up. Indeed, when it comes to data security, the offsite backup and data encryption that online data backup companies provide for their clients eliminates all of these concerns.

However, the bottom line here is that all security and financial considerations are meaningless if the backup method that is chosen fails to work in the first place! Alas, tape backups are quite vulnerable to containing errors, with many companies never realizing this fact until they are put in the unfortunate position of trying to retrieve their information from them in the even of a data loss disaster. In addition to this, tapes are also highly sensitive to humidity, temperature and magnetism, not to mention the fact that they are also easy to misplace or steal. Once all of these inadequacies are considered, it becomes very obvious to most that tape backup is not only a less effective method of backing up, but that the hidden costs of tape backup far exceed those of online data backup as well.

Of course, we here at KineticD understand that some businesses are still afraid to take the leap into digital cloud technology. For this reason we always offer our free trials so that hesitant cloud users can try out all of our services for themselves to see just how far cloud backup has come. And, with our state of the art, uncrackable Blowfish data encryption, patented Continuous Backup process and over 10 years experience in the online data backup industry without ever having lost a file, we’re always proud to be helping more and more businesses join in the online data backup and cloud computing revolution. Please visit our website today to find out more about how KineticD can help your business save money and, most of all, save your data with online data backup!

About the author: Ben Puzzuoli is Technical Sales Director at KineticD, a Toronto based online data backup service provider.


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