Businesses Lack Data Targeting, Retrieval Technologies

The Kroll survey revealed 30 percent of respondents do not have clear insight into what specific information is stored within their tape archives.

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Organizations are putting themselves at risk for legal action and financial penalties due to an inability to quickly target and retrieve data from legacy tape archives, according to a global survey of 720 IT administrators.

The survey, conducted by data recovery specialist Kroll Ontrack, revealed 30 percent of respondents do not have clear insight into what specific information is stored within their tape archives.

Thirty percent of the survey respondents said they receive restore requests daily, weekly or at least monthly, and another 32 percent are asked to restore data from tapes at least multiple times a year.

However, 22 percent of respondents confirmed that they cannot respond to restore requests as demanded by their organization and cannot consistently locate and access the desired data.

"Because the amount of data is getting so large, the back-up windows required are becoming too long so they stop backing up as often, if at all," Todd Johnson, vice president, data and storage technologies at Kroll Ontrack, told eWEEK. "Not only are they not backing up, but they are not verifying their backups worked because this takes just as long."

Johnson said the most surprising finding from the survey was that 13 percent of businesses back up their data only monthly or less.

"When disaster strikes, organizations need that most recent file or backup," he explained. "A month old backup, could crush an organization financially."

More than a third (34 percent) of respondents said their organization stores more than 100 legacy tapes – that includes 12 percent who have more than 500 tapes.

Further, over half (56 percent) of respondents manage tapes that are older than five years, while 34 percent manage tapes 5 – 10 years- old, and 21 percent manage tapes which are older than 10 years.

"Even though the age of tape medium is not a certainty for tape damage or data loss, in combination with many read and write passes, poor handling during storage or the lack of the correct hardware or software can pose serious issues," the report noted.

Almost two-thirds of respondents (62 percent) archive data daily, but 38 percent do not. In fact, 13 percent back up their data only monthly or less, posing serious risk to their organization as they could lose data for a period of a month or even more and have no viable backup.

When asked about the barriers to having clear insight into what information is contained in their tape archive, most IT administrators cite the difficulty and time consumption associated with accessing or viewing tape content (43 percent).

Other barriers include the fact that their organization no longer has the infrastructure in place (software or hardware) to access the legacy tapes (24 percent), the expense of maintaining legacy infrastructure (18 percent), and damaged tapes (7 percent).