Why Tape Storage and Backup are Still Essential Today

Why Tape Storage and Backup are Still Essential TodayIn recent years, organizations have moved away from tape storage and backup in favor of shifting to the cloud. While the cloud offers benefits that other storage and backup options don’t, the approach is not without its flaws. Though tape is older technology, it is a viable option for backup and storage when used in conjunction with the cloud. Together, tape and cloud can significantly improve your backup and storage capabilities.

Traditionally, tape has been used for long-term retention and offsite backup. A backup application would copy data to a tape, which would then be exported from the library and transferred to a vault offsite in order to be protected from a localized disaster. While effective, the use of tape can be challenging. The process of handling tapes in what can often be dusty storage conditions can negatively impact the reliability of the media. Additionally, if data must be restored, the tapes have to be taken from the vault, loaded in the library, and searched to locate the right files. This process can be very slow and tedious.

As a result of such challenges, organizations have moved towards cloud storage. This shift is due to the fact that public cloud storage is a practical offsite storage solution for disaster recovery. When backup files are stored in the public cloud, it’s simpler to restore data within the cloud. In addition to this, virtualized applications can be accessed more quickly, allowing service to be restored to users faster during a disaster. Because of these benefits, some organizations choose to eliminate the use of tape in their environment. However, the cloud is susceptible to the threat of cyber attacks, therefore, getting rid of tape completely can negatively impact your business.

As opposed to the cloud, tape is completely offline. Data or backup files that are stored on tape are not connected to the network, aside from when read or write operations are performed. For maximum protection, these files are stored offline inside a tape library in a protected, secure environment. Because of this, data stored on tape would not be affected by ransomware or network-based malware, unlike cloud storage.

Though both tape and the cloud have their flaws, they can improve backup and storage capabilities when used together. With a hybrid approach of tape and cloud, daily backups are sent to the cloud for offsite disaster recovery, rather than being copied to tape and shipped somewhere. This process reduces how often tapes are handled and saves you money by ridding you of the need for third-party offsite vaulting services.

Using this method, tape acts as an offline storage solution that is protected against malware. Backups are copied to tapes, which are stored onsite in a tape library. Because tapes stay in the library, tape handling is no longer an issue, meaning that it is less likely the media will be damaged as a result of handling.

Without the added benefits of tape, cloud backup and storage is susceptible to cyber attacks. The fact that tape is truly offline allows businesses to protect data from ransomware and malware attacks effectively and at a low cost. Before eliminating tape altogether in favor of more recent technology, consider the positive aspects of this cost-effective offline solution in conjunction with the cloud.

Tess Hanna
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