What is backup tape?
Data, data and more data. This is the world we live in today, a world where, some might argue, there is too much data. To add to the complication there are many devices available today, which hold our data, ranging from handheld devices like computers and tablets to laptops.
The abundance of this data also requires safety and precaution to protect the data. This is particularly true for businesses who might hold privileged information, as well as for companies who might be legally required to store data pertaining to their business dealings. Some companies have also suffered from date corruption after being victims of hackers.
Even disgruntled employees have been known to cause data breaches. This is where backup tapes are useful. Backup Tapes are a widely accepted data storage medium. Your stored data can be copied into backup tapes to ensure that a safe and secure copy is available in case something happens to the primary copy of your data. Data stored on Backup Tapes is essentially stored on magnetic tapes. By having copies of your data on backup tapes you are ensuring that you have a safe copy of your data available in case something happens to the primary copy of your data.
Who needs backup tape?
Backup Tape is a widely encompassing solution to storage problems and can be helpful to companies of all shapes and sizes. No matter the industry or the annual revenue of your business, backup tapes are a safe and affordable way to save your data. It is also helpful for any company that produces a lot of data in general.
It can be particularly helpful for companies/individuals who might be legally required to store data e.g. law firms, financial institutions etc. Such industries hold especially sensitive data and cannot afford data breaches wherein the data is maligned or completely lost. This is where backup tape can be helpful. Backup Tape offers a viable solution for such businesses, with its many benefits and advantages, by ensuring that backup copies of data are in a safe and secure place.
By having your data stored on backup tape you are ensuring that your data is safe in case the primary copy of your data is damaged or breached. To provide an extra layer of security the backup tapes can be stored in an offsite location. This can be important for companies which might be in disaster prone areas. For example if you are a company with primary data stored on a hard disk which is located in a flood prone area then having your data stored on a backup tape, located in an offsite location, would be particularly useful.
What are the benefits of saving data on backup tapes?
In recent years there has been a big push to store backup data on the Cloud and it has been touted as the most efficient way to store backup data. However, to some extent, this is just a blind belief, as the costs of using Cloud storage can really add up over time. Companies which might be required by compliance or legal regulations to store years worth of data will find that the cost of using Cloud storage, or for that matter active disk storage, really starts to compound. This is especially true when you are forced to buy more space, or subscriptions, to continue adding more data. Backup tapes, on the other hand, have a very wide storage capacity, of up to 30 Terabytes, and can be held off site for very small fees. Cloud storage is also susceptible to cybercrimes and hacking by its inherent nature, whereas tape based backup is not, as a tape simply cannot be hacked. Some of the well known advantages of using Backup Tapes include the following:
- A single backup tape holds a large volume of data, as it can hold up to 30 Terabytes.
- They can be restored.
- They are compact and portable. Backup tape cartridges can simply be picked up and transported to an offsite location for storage there, if that is what you prefer.
- They are cost-effective. Compared to other backup formats, backup tapes are extremely affordable when it comes to cost per gigabyte.
- They cool faster than other storage devices.
- They cannot be remotely hacked. Backup tapes simply by their nature cannot be hacked, in contrast to Cloud-based backup, which is susceptible to hacking.
- When stored correctly, backup tapes are long-lasting and simply cannot crash. If stored properly, backup tapes can last for 30 years or more.
- When stored correctly, they are secure. Backup tapes can protect your data from ransomware or malware. When they are stored in an offsite location they are disconnected from your primary system and therefore not susceptible to any attacks.
- Backup Tapes provide an extra layer of protection through their air gapped solutions. Simply put this means that backup tapes Backup tapes are not accessible from an external connection or the internet, and therefore are not prone to internet based attacks.
Timeline of Backup Tapes
(progression over time)
Tape gained notoriety as a backup medium pretty recently, in the 1950s. In its latent phase the purpose of tape based backup was very different to what it is today. Originally tape was proposed as a solution for disaster recovery, if there was a system crash or anything, for that matter, that could jeopardize the data. For instance data was stored on backup to make sure a copy is readily available if and when there is a system crash. Therefore backup was initially, only, a medium just to ensure that copies of data are available when something happens to the primary version of the data.
However the purpose of backup tape has changed over the years. Backup tape has evolved over time to store data for much longer periods of time. It has become common practice to store data on tape for years on end and to retrieve the data when needed. Therefore backup tape has changed as a medium solely used as a backup for disaster recovery purposes to retaining data for historical purposes.
Backup tape stats
According to one very important statistic, 67% of companies believe they will be the victims of a security breach. This shows how potent a threat there is to having your data jeopardized. Small and medium sized businesses are especially at risk as companies with less than 250 employees are the victim of 31% of such targeted attacks. This makes sense, as small and medium sized businesses might not have adequate resources to deal with such attacks, something the attackers might be cognizant of. Underscoring this is another important statistic according to which 58% of businesses do not have the budgets to recover from such attacks. Such businesses probably do not have a chance of getting back any data, which might have been breached.
It is important to remember that any data breaches will have real tangible impacts on businesses as well as their success and growth potential. According to one statistic, 93% of businesses whose data center is out of order for 10 days or more filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster. In order to prevent such a scenario, the vast majority of businesses backup their data – as according to one finding, 86% of businesses back up their data daily, monthly, or weekly. Many of these companies will use backup tape to store their data. Such companies are cognizant of the advantages of tape, some of which are:
- Tape is three to four times cheaper to use than disk for long-term storage
- Tape can be stored for up to 30 years
- Tape offers data transfer rates of 400 MB/sec
What are tape drives used for?
To put it very simply, the purpose of tape drives is to store copies of your data in case something happens to the primary copy of your data. To understand what tape drives are used for, it is also important to understand how they work, as well as some of their benefits. A good example to contrast tapes with are tape recorders. Like your typical tape recorders, a tape drive records data on flexible celluloid like material that can be read and also erased. Tape drives can have capacities anywhere from a few hundred kilobytes to multiple terabytes.
Tapes are generally less expensive than other data backup formats and also have high storage capacity, offering more storage room than cloud based storage for instance. They are also generally very affordable, no matter your business size. Tapes are also removable and as such can be transported to be stored in an offsite location. Furthermore, tapes are available in different sizes, to suit your needs, whatever they may be, they can be purchased in standalone units or in stacked racks.
How does backup tape protect against ransomware?
One of the more advantageous aspects of tapes is that they protect against ransomware, something other forms of data storage are unable to offer. Ransomware is an extremely potent threat in today’s world and affects business everyday. If you have been the victim of a ransomware attack then then you will be prevented from accessing your system until you pay a ransom to the attacker. This is something most businesses, undoubtedly cannot afford, as such an attack would essentially shut down their operations. This is where backup tape can be particularly advantageous.
Tapes by their nature are not susceptible to ransomware attacks. Data stored on backup tapes is completely safe from online threats such as ransomware because the contents of the tape itself are physically separated from the tape drives that read or write them. This is not the case with cloud based storage, for example, which is susceptible to ransomware attacks.