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Value Your Business Data? Don’t Repeat These Mistakes

Nowadays, companies have to manage huge amounts of information. Since corporate data is often of a confidential and private nature, businesses often attempt to store and manage their information internally. Yet, as so often happens, this data is easily mishandled.

Recently, it was brought to light that a hospital in Miami had lost the medical records of 1,400 patients. The records, which have been missing since January 2013, were lost when they were either being transported to or returning from being scanned. In another instance from late last year, a laptop with unencrypted data was stolen from a NASA employee’s car.

In addition to these highly publicized mishaps, there are countless other incidences that go unreported every year. If there’s anything to be learned from these examples, it’s that large corporations and small business alike should take greater care when handling their data. We’ve outlined some common mistakes that occur when handling your backup data and what you can do to prevent them.

Taking Backup Data Home

Remote working capabilities have made it easier and more desirable to work from home. As a result, individuals have become less vigilant about the custody of corporate data. Leaving a laptop (even if it’s encrypted) exposed within a vehicle is foolish to the point of bordering on egregious. Luckily, overall, more people realize the risks associated with leaving any type of valuables within full view in a parked car.

One practice that continues, especially within the small business community, is taking a backup tape home. The rationale behind this practice is that doing so will prevent backup data from being lost to disaster or theft. In reality, your backup tape is no safer at home than it would be if you left it sitting on a desktop. Actually, you’re exposing it to more risk. Consider the following:

  • Is your home immune to fire, flooding or natural disaster?
  • Could someone break into your home and/or car and steal your backup tape?
  • Are you prepared to be personally responsible and possibly financially liable for lost data?

In addition to the risk of disaster and theft, taking your backup home exposes your data storage devices to devastating environmental fluctuations. Both magnetic and optical media are susceptible to temperature and humidity fluctuations often present while transporting within a vehicle. In short, a car in the middle of summer or during the dead of winter is no friend to a backup tape or hard drive.

Storing Backup Tapes in a Bank Safe Deposit Box

Bank safe deposit boxes are relied on to store all matter of valuable items. While they may be a fantastic option for jewelry, bonds, or your will, they are not the best repository for your critical business data. Just as a car or home doesn’t supply the optimal media preservation environment, neither does a safety deposit box. Additionally, access is limited to banking hours, making it difficult to restore data quickly. In fact, the FDIC does not recommend storing “anything you might need to access quickly, perhaps on a night, weekend, or holiday.”

Doing Nothing

Backing up your data is critical to ensuring business continuity in event of a disaster. However, not providing for the protection and preservation of your backup media is extremely risky. Not only are you threatening the overall viability of your business, but you may be setting up yourself up for a world of consequences:

  • regulatory non-compliance
  • legal costs
  • civil and/or criminal penalties

Records Management Center provides businesses throughout Augusta, Evans, Thomson, and Martinez, GA, and Aiken, SC and the Central Savannah River Area with media storage and rotation solutions. To find out how we can help your business, please contact us by phone or fill in the form on the page.