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Staying Afloat When the Data Loss Iceberg Hits: Part 1 of 2

In 1912, the world witnessed a tragedy of epic proportion when the much lauded luxury liner, the Titanic, sunk to the depths of the ocean. For businesses today, consequences can still be grim when oversights leading to data loss threaten to sink an organization.

Much like crashing into an iceberg in the middle of the ocean, circumstances leading to data loss disaster might seem unlikely, causing those steering the ship of today’s business to think they may easily come out without negative impact. But that simply is not the case. In Syncsorts’ 2018 State of Resilience Report, nearly half of IT professionals surveyed experienced a failure that required use of HA/DR solutions to resume operations. What’s more, nearly 50 percent of companies who have experienced a storage failure lost data in the process due to insufficient disaster recovery methods or practices.

When it comes to business-critical data, data loss like this simply cannot be tolerated. So why aren’t more companies investing in solutions to prevent data loss?

Companies cannot afford to neglect business continuity planning by overlooking important HA/DR solutions to insure against data loss. Understanding how to build in redundancies and avoid common data loss pitfalls, especially as environments change, is essential. Data grows exponentially and IT infrastructures evolve. It’s an essential component of any information strategy today.

The Main Culprit: Storage Failure

Storage failure is a leading factor for data loss in a disaster recovery scenario. Knowing this, companies need to better understand the different reasons why hardware and software malfunctions occur in the first place – and what methods to employ in order to properly preserve and restore data.

State of Resilience 2018, data loss

The Trouble with Tape

While many companies select tape as their primary method for disaster recovery, they do so making the assumption that tape is ‘good enough’ to suit their needs. While in certain instances tape can be sufficient, especially if included in a mix of other disaster recovery options, companies should be aware of the shortcomings of tape and the risks associated with tape backup.

Tapes are a common carrier of the storage failure disease, as the very design of this archival medium cripples it with certain limitations. Several factors can render the information stored on a tape useless.

  • Incompatibilities exist between the machine that manufactured the tape and playback equipment.
  • The data has been corrupted on the storage system to the point where it is no longer readable.
  • Malicious software is placed in an array of storage that is part of a larger system and the array infects all of the files within it. Much like a virus that affects a field of crops from the same type of seed, the malware runs rampant throughout the entire system.
  • In rare cases, the tape has simply aged beyond the point where it is compatible with any current playback equipment.

Tape, despite its limitations, isn’t going anywhere. The creation of a tape-based storage solutions with a recording density of 123 billion bits per square inch on low cost, particulate magnetic tape, make the storage capacity and cost benefits of this product appealing. While tape still makes its case as a relevant storage medium to meet growing demands for large amounts of back-up and archival data, companies must continue to assess the optimal mix of storage environments for their IT infrastructure today, and understand the ways that tape can increase risk of data loss, overall.

Check back for part two, where we’ll cover risks of data loss caused by a rise in malware attacks and the value of real-time replication to deliver adequate data protection. Also, we outline how to achieve planned downtime perfection and prevent data loss with the right technology and preparation.

Make sure to download our 2018 State of Resilience Report for more information.

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