Irish firms still overly reliant on tape for data backup

25 Jun 2010

Almost two-thirds of Irish businesses are still using tape technology for data backup, even though more than one-third say they had a ‘significant’ data loss.

Data storage experts have always preached that the ability to restore data is at least as important as backing it up in the first place, and with good reason. Of those organisations who experienced a data loss incident and had to restore from backup, one in five said they were unable to retrieve all of the lost information. Business continuity was also affected, with one in three respondents saying it took more than a day to get some or all of the data back.  

The findings are from a survey of 400 Irish organisations, conducted by the technology service provider IT Force in conjunction with the online backup firm keepITsafe.

“The most significant finding was that while backing up is an accepted principle amongst Irish organisations, traditional methods such as tapes remain popular despite the fact that all too often they simply don’t work,” commented Joe Molloy, managed services director with IT Force. 

How many Irish organisations back up data

The survey also showed that 15pc of Irish organisations back up their data to disk, while just 7pc say they use online data backup services. 

While the risk of data loss remains high, judging by the survey findings at least, all Irish firms accept the need in principle to back up their data and 40pc say they spend more than €1,000 per year on related services. All respondents confirmed they back up their data, with 96pc doing so on a daily basis. Some 74pc have a documented disaster recovery plan in the office.

Data management arrangements within organisations differ widely: 60pc of businesses move the saved data to an offsite location. Just more than two-thirds (67pc) said that where tapes are used, they are generally kept onsite at all times. 

Where tapes are used, only 28pc of those polled said they thought the media were encrypted. The same number of respondents wait for two years before replacing a backup tape, while 35pc say they do not know how often tapes are replaced.

Pointing the finger after a data breach can be a tricky prospect, the survey suggests: 32pc of respondents claimed responsibility is mixed between an IT services provider and an internal employee; 70.4pc said backing up was the duty of more than one internal employee.

The survey also revealed a worrying lack of awareness of procedures and regulations involving data. A quarter of all organisations have no formal, documented disaster recovery plan and 19pc confessed to not knowing their legal obligations relating to data protection and management.  

By Gordon Smith