While cloud computing has been making headlines and Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) in particular is gaining traction, some companies still rely on tapes for protecting their critical data. Now is time for you to put this on your new year’s resolution list: get rid of tape backup.

Let’s take a look at some noteworthy tape backup disasters of recent years:

A TD Bank employee lost a set of unencrypted backup tapes with customer data affecting 34,000 customers in Maine and 260,000 worldwide. The bank had to pay $130,015 as part of a settlement.

McLean Hospital, a member of the Boston-area Partners Healthcare colossus and Harvard Medical School affiliate, lost track of four backup tapes full of personal information on brain research subjects. They contained names, birth dates, diagnoses, and some social security numbers of 12,600 people who had donated their brains for research, as well as some information on their family members.

Cbr Systems, a cord blood blank based in San Bruno, CA, had unencrypted backup tapes, a laptop, a portable hard drive, a USB drive and other Cbr IT equipment stolen from an employee’s car. Personal information about nearly 300,000 people was breached.

Personal data on all 64,467 of Ohio’s state employees and tens of thousands of others, including Ohio teachers and individuals receiving health care benefits in the state, was stolen from the car of an intern entrusted with protecting the data.

University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics backup tapes stolen led to the theft of 2.2 million billion records.

A transportation company lost backup tapes when they fell from its truck onto the roadside by a highway exit ramp in New York. The 130 data tapes, which contained personal information on more than 500,000 current and former IBM employees, were never recovered.

Montana State University had a planned an outage after midnight to upgrade its learning management software. The next morning, the company made an error and installed the wrong backup tape which meant 17 hours of work went missing. The error was quickly recognized but in trying to restore the missing 17 hours of data, the company wrote over or erased nearly three hours of classwork.

The retail finance division of Citigroup has admitted that a backup tape containing personal information on almost 4 million customers in the US went missing.

An unencrypted backup tape went missing from the Bank of New York Mellon, potentially exposing information on 4.5 million customers.

Bank of America loses a million customer records
when backup tapes went missing during shipment to an offsite facility.

What all these stories (and countless others not included) have in common is that tape backup is typically the weakest link in data protection. Losing backup tapes while transporting it, making errors during restore, and simple theft happen too frequently, and these are the stories that make it out to the press, not to mention the countless others that we never hear about but cost companies thousands of dollars and also cost employees their jobs.

With advances in data protection technology giving companies an affordable and more secure way to protect their critical data and applications, there is no excuse for you to still rely on tapes. It is time to upgrade your data protection and recovery technology.


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