Data Protection Services vs DIY Protection products

Mike Rickards, Managing Director of Smartways Examines why businesses should be adopting smarter secure security processes.

There is no doubt businesses are facing a confluence of challenges in relation to secure and robust data security processes as news hits us on a daily basis of varying organisations adopting new methods or breaches in security.

Online Data Protection, like many IT products and services, became an acceptable method of delivering automated and secure data backup in the USA, long before it became an acceptable method of backup in the UK and Europe. Yet one of the principal reasons for this was the poor roll-out and acceptance of Broadband (ADSL/SDSL) as a business level service, for without good connectivity, most on-line backup products simply don’t work very well, unless, they have always been designed to work across the WAN.

As on-line backup products evolve along with increased bandwidth, DIY products such as backup software and tape systems will eventually become obsolete. Magnetic Tape has been with us as a recording medium since the early 50’s and then adapted for use as a data storage medium in the 1960’s; so in a sense, its probably one of the oldest ‘memory’ technologies in use – but its had its day. The technology is extremely cumbersome and enormous when compared to “spinning disc” technologies and with the advent of 1TB SATA Hard Disc. – E.g. A letter such as the letter ‘I’ can be stored in a single byte of storage – this means that a 1 TB disc can store 1,099,511,627,776 (A trillion letters) – a vast amount of data.

However, in comparison, tape is certainly not letting itself down as a technology and is certainly putting up a strong fight where long-term storage is required for archiving. Indeed, the latest LTO4 tapes can store a raw data capacity of 800GB and when if the data is compressible, that could even reach 1.6TB.

Nevertheless, tape is seen as less reliable medium and to store such a vast amount of important data on such a system could be tantamount to career suicide for the professional IT manager who later can’t recover what could be the businesses entire data”.

Therefore, as business data becomes more critical and staff time more expensive, IT people and company Financial Officers need to explore avenues to reduce costs, lessen risk to the business and improve the overall security of their data and this is where products like TouchPoint, the Online Backup and Disaster Recovery tools from Smartways fit the business requirements.

However, outsourcing is still often looked at as being more expensive because there is additional cash expenditure involved (on top of the normal overheads) whereas DIY just means a bit more effort and a hope that the data will be recoverable when it’s next needed.

In spite of this, Online Backup is really taking off within the UK. By reducing the amount of data being stored offline through Data De-duplication and compression, what started off as 100GB of data to be stored off-line can often be reduced to 50GB. Data is also far more secure because (in the case of TouchPoint) there is a local copy ready for fast restoration, plus a copy of all generations of data at the Backup providers Data Centre where they will have replicated this again for their own business continuity purposes.

Thus, there is still space for Tape - just as there was space for the BBC Micro and the Kodak Instant Camera – eventually, the good times will come to an end and a faster, greener, trendier and less complicated technology will takeover.

Smartways Technology Ltd is exhibiting at Storage Expo 2008 the UK’s definitive event for data storage, information and content management. Now in its 8th year, the show features a comprehensive FREE education programme and over 100 exhibitors at the National Hall, Olympia, London from 15 - 16 October 2008

Source: StoragePR