Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ontrack Data Recovery announces list of top tape failures

Why tape-based backup procedures may not be as safe as first thought

MINNEAPOLIS – Aug. 16, 2006 – US businesses are putting vital corporate data at risk by relying on tape backup systems in the event of a disaster, according to data recovery expert Ontrack Data Recovery. The company warns that while many businesses diligently back up corporate data on tape-based systems, they rarely check to see whether backups have been successful until it’s too late.

Ontrack, which recovers data from thousands of tapes every year – even damaged and overwritten tapes – has compiled a list of the top tape failures when attempting to access critical business data.

Widespread corruption
Companies often find that backup data on tape has become corrupted when accessed later to retrieve critical business data. This can be due to operational error or even mishandling of the tape itself. Accidental overwrites due to inserting or partially formatting the wrong tape are not uncommon. Just because you perform a regular process to back up your systems doesn’t mean that your data is safe. If it was good one day, it might not be good the next. Companies must check tapes regularly by accessing and viewing the data to ensure it is available in the event of a disaster.

Offsite and safe - it’s not always the case
Storing backup tapes offsite is one of the most basic requirements of any disaster recovery plan but, like any business, these sites can also be hit by disaster, natural or otherwise. Hurricane Katrina in the US and the Buncefield oil depot explosion in the UK go to show how disasters can affect large parts of a country, jeopardizing both central data and offsite backups. The best plan for offsite storage is to utilize multiple storage locations that are as far away from the main office as logistically feasible.

Let’s get physical
Problems with broken tapes, dirty drives and using tape past its “sell by” date can lead to data being inaccessible. Without specialist in-house expertise, often the only option is to approach a data recovery expert to restore lost data in order to get the business back up and running.

Keep up with the times
Upgrades in business software and systems can leave backed up data irretrievable. If you’ve changed your systems, check that the data stored on tape can still be accessed given that it may have been created by different applications or servers.

“Many businesses have blind faith that their backup routines work and will save them in the event of a problem and, as a result, few bother to check the accessibility of their data until a disaster occurs,” said Jim Reinert, senior director of Software and Services for Ontrack Data Recovery. “This leaves them unprepared and can put them out of business for days or even weeks. Having a disaster recovery plan in place that includes data recovery is the first step to ensure the availability of critical business data. To improve your chances of recovering your data, you need to have multiple plans in place to cover every possible event.”

A relationship with a data recovery provider is a good way to protect against the problems associated with data loss. Ontrack has different no cost partner programs to help keep businesses prepared with the latest data recovery technology and services available. For more information, visit

About Ontrack Data Recovery
Ontrack Data Recovery is the largest, most experienced and technologically advanced provider of data recovery products and services worldwide. Ontrack is able to recover lost or corrupted data from virtually all operating systems and types of storage devices through its do-it-yourself, remote and in-lab capabilities, using its hundreds of proprietary tools and techniques. Ontrack Data Recovery is a brand name of Kroll Ontrack Inc., a technology services subsidiary of Kroll Inc., the global risk consulting company.