Q&A: Why back-up tapes are still relevant to business

IT Services

by Claire Vanner| 21 January 2014

CBR speaks to Paul Le Messurier of Kroll Ontrack about the legacy of back-up tapes.

Paul Le Messurier

Paul Le Messurier is the programme and operations manager for data recovery at Kroll Ontrack. He spoke with Claire Vanner about big data recovery and how enterprises can manage their legacy of old-fashioned back-up tapes.

Are old-fashioned back-up tapes still relevant to enterprises?

You may have thought that the back-up tape infrastructure was dying out, but actually it seems to be causing quite a big headache for enterprises. What we've seen, particualrly in the financial industry, is there's a whole area of legislation where they have to keep data for certain period. So they have data going back eight or more years, and they're having to keep an infrastructure to access that data just in case it is required.

[Enterprises] may have tapes off site and don't know what's on it or even have the infrastructure to access tapes.
Abother situation we're seeing is that they may have overtime changed back up software but are keeping old infrastructure which is expensive to paying maintence on on systems.

How can Kroll Ontrack help to ease management and costs of this legacy?

We can extract the data and put it on to a new media. Alternatively, we can offer service where it doen't matter if you don't have the infrastructure. If you get a call requiring you to produce data from these tapes, you can send them to Kroll and we have the tools to extract the data.

Kroll Ontrack specialises in data recovery, but shouldn't back-up eliminate this service?

We do continue to see a demand [for data recovery]. Back-ups are very important when it comes to data recovery, but we find that back ups aren't always working. Some of us have the best of intentions and plan to back up, whether its on an external hard drive or the cloud, but it's easy thing that is often overlooked.

Have you seen an increase in demand for the data recovery service recently?

For enterprises, there is more and more data and big data. So these days, companies rely so incredibly on the data. It really is business critical, so if a system is down for one day, it can have big impact on their revenue and profit. With big data, larger scale does rely so much on back-up, but we often get cases where people have lost data, they've looked at back up and found it's not available or hasn't worked. So there is still that demand for data recovery.

Data erasing is another service you offer. What is the importance of this to enterprises?

Quite often, companies overlook the importance of erasing data of end of life equipmemt. There have been cases such as the NHS, who have disposed of equipment that has later been found to have confidential information on it. So from data erasure POV we offer two solutions - one is a software which erases data on a device and hardrive leaving the drive reusable. The second thing we have is a Degauser software, which makes the media unusable by effecting the magnetic capability of the device.

Companies will have erased data and they then send device to us to see if we can recover data from that. Using all our tools and our engineer's experience we can try to recover the data from that device and if we cannot, we are confident that nobody else can, so we issue a certificate saying that data is unrecoverable.

SMBs make up the majority of the UK's business economy and more of them are looking to improve their IT services, what does Kroll offer them?

We deal with a lot of SMBs through to large enterprises: in terms of data recovery, the process is pretty similar. What is true is that small enterprises find they're lacking in the IT knowledge and capabilities, so there is more risk they don't have correct back ups in place if they lose their data.

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