21 October 2015

Kroll Ontrack Research: Nearly one-third of organisations are without insight into legacy data content

Companies face real challenges when accessing or gathering data from legacy archive or backup tapes, posing consequential compliance or regulatory risks

Epsom - 21 October 2015. While IT departments are regularly asked to restore data from legacy tapes in response to compliance, investigation or litigation requests, not all are able to do so quickly, according to a recent global survey of 720 IT administrators by Kroll Ontrack. In fact, 30 per cent of respondents do not have clear insight into what specific information is stored within their tape archive. Given the legal obligations and urgency often associated with such requests, organisations are putting themselves at risk for legal action or potential monetary penalties.

Kroll Ontrack today released findings from a global survey around the processes and challenges associated with effective tape management and archiving. The study was conducted in the US, UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Singapore and New Zealand and included responses from 720 IT specialists from corporates and IT service providers.

The results demonstrate that IT administrators are regularly under pressure to access, identify and restore specific data from archive tapes, whether to support an internal investigation involving legacy custodian data, to respond to a regulatory request from a government agency, or as part of an ediscovery matter involving archived data . Almost a third (30 per cent) of participants receive restore requests daily, weekly or at least monthly, and another 32 per cent are asked to restore data from tapes at least multiple times a year. However, 22 per cent of participants confirm that they cannot respond to restore requests as demanded by their organisation and cannot consistently locate and access the desired data.

“Most organisations are required by law to keep and maintain access to regulated data for a designated period of time,” explains Paul Le Messurier, Programme and Operations Manager, Kroll Ontrack. “Therefore, maintaining access to legacy data and having the ability to quickly respond to data requests is crucial. Overstrained IT resources and the fact that nearly one-third of organisations struggle to even know or understand the data stored on their company archive or backup tapes is a real challenge and could put an organisation at risk if it is unable to produce data in a timely manner.”

When asked about the barriers to having clear insight into what information is contained in their tape archive, IT administrators cite the difficulty and time consumption associated with accessing or viewing tape content (43 per cent), the fact that their organisation no longer has the infrastructure in place (software or hardware) to access legacy tapes (24 per cent), the expense of maintaining legacy infrastructure (18 per cent) and damaged tapes (7 per cent).

Additional key findings from the study include:

  • Backup Protocols: Almost two-thirds of respondents (62 per cent) archive data daily, but 38 per cent do not. In fact, 13 per cent back up their data only monthly or less, posing serious risks to their organisation as they could lose data for a period of a month or even more and have no viable backup.
  • Legacy Tape Abundance and Age: 34 per cent of participants store more than 100 legacy tapes in their organisation – that includes 12 per cent who have more than 500 tapes. Further, over half (56 per cent) of respondents manage tapes that are older than 5 years, while 34 per cent manage tapes 5 – 10 years old, and 21 per cent manage tapes which are older than 10 years. Even though the age of tape medium is not a certainty for tape damage or data loss, in combination with many read and write passes, poor handling during storage or the lack of the correct hardware or software can create serious issues.

“With the variety of backup and tape solutions used by organisations, getting a handle on effective tape management and establishing processes to quickly respond to data requests rests on two tape management best practices: identifying the quality status of your tape archive and having knowledge of the data stored within the archive,” said Paul Le Messurier. “Organisations are wise to audit their legacy tapes and catalogue the information and location of the data stored on them. As this can be a costly and time-consuming task, we’re seeing demand for an easy-to-use solution to consolidate catalogues from various systems and mediums into a single, searchable inventory.”

About Kroll Ontrack Ltd.

Kroll Ontrack provides technology-driven services and software to help legal, corporate and government entities as well as consumers manage, recover, search, analyse, and produce data efficiently and cost-effectively. In addition to its award-winning suite of software, Kroll Ontrack provides data recovery, data destruction, electronic discovery and document review services. For more information about Kroll Ontrack and its offerings please visit: Krollontrack.co.uk follow @KrollOntrackUK on Twitter or subscribe to the Kroll Ontrack Data Blog.

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