You can’t gamble when it comes to protecting corporate data. Security measures have been implemented to protect against intruders and to perform regular backups to let you recover from system failures, virus attacks, or natural disasters. But if you’re relying solely on tape backup for disaster recovery, no doubt you’ve already wondered if you really have the means to get your systems and data back on line before a disaster inflicts serious damage to your business viability. Can you really afford to take disaster recovery risks with your corporate data?
“Data is one of two irreplaceable corporate assets, second only to loss of life,” writes Dennis Wenk in an article in the Disaster Recovery Journal (Winter 2004, “Is ‘Good Enough’ Storage Good Enough for Compliance?”). While comparing data loss to loss of life might seem outrageous, the article goes on to state, “Research has shown that 50 percent of companies that lose critical systems for more than 10 days never recover, 43 percent of companies experiencing a disaster never reopen, and 29 percent of the remaining close within two years. That’s the death of a corporation.”
Even if you somehow manage to beat the odds and survive with a suspect disaster recovery plan, you might not be so lucky at escaping the consequences of regulatory non-compliance. Recent government regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act require organizations to have the necessary internal controls in place to protect against risk events. Failure to implement acceptable internal controls can leave businesses and their senior executives liable for up to $5 million in fines, 20 years in prison, or both. In short, best-effort measures don’t cut it anymore. Whether you’re concerned about the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, HIPAA, or other government or industry regulations, unreliable disaster recovery practices can add up to significant non-compliance penalties in today’s corporate environment.
Tape has been a de facto standard for backup and recovery for years, but corporations are now realizing that it doesn’t have the ability on its own to handle all of their disaster recovery requirements. Computerworld listed tape backup as one of five submerging technologies, stating that “Although magnetic tape’s cost per megabyte will give it a role in keeping archival records for years to come, better technologies and techniques are eroding tape’s dominance for day-to-day backup and recovery tasks” (October 20, 2003, “Submerging Technologies: Five that are Sinking Fast” by Gary H. Anthes and Robert L. Mitchell).