An Intelligent Approach to Managing Risk and Liability of Legacy Backup Data

How eliminating tape as a long-term archive mitigates legacy data risks

The most significant expense and pain associated with stockpiling legacy data on backup tape or disk archives is the risk of the unknown. Backup images are archives of all user data, including email, text documents and PDFs from the CEO, to contracts from legal and manufacturing, to documents from research and discovery.

When these highly-sensitive records are not managed properly – archived, encrypted or even purged – they could be requested to support litigation and regulatory compliance. These potential “smoking guns” could cost your organization millions in fines along with even more in embarrassment and loss of public trust.

Managing legacy business records properly will allow mitigation of risk and control of future potential expense.
In the past, data on old backup tapes has been difficult to access. As tapes age they become more and more inaccessible and if you need to know what is on these tapes, or restore files and emails in support legal and compliance requirements, it can be extremely complex and expensive.

Index Engines provides an intelligent method of managing and restoring content from legacy backup tapes. By eliminating the need for the backup software that created the tape, Index Engines can ingest legacy backup catalogs and provide reports and analysis of the contents in order to determine a disposition strategy.

Additionally, Index Engines can scan tapes and provide deep intelligence, including content metadata, so individual files and mailboxes can be extracted without the original backup software. Leveraging this new approach towards backup data access, Index Engines eliminates traditional tape restoration and intelligently manages legacy data using a more cost-effective approach.

With intelligent knowledge and access to legacy backup data there is no need to maintain non-production backup software. Additionally, tape and disk archives can be analyzed and a disposition strategy can be defined that secures sensitive data and eliminates what no longer has value to the business.

As a result, the number of data center inefficiencies can be reduced and wasted costs can be recovered and reallocated to other critical initiatives.

The process of determining what legacy backup content has value and what is redundant, outdated and trivial is not as complex as one may think. If you can develop a policy of what should be preserved, which requires input from the legal and records management team, this would result in restoring less than 1% of the legacy backup content.

Even if you haven’t determined the policy of what to keep, a single instance of legacy tape data can be restored to a disk based archive and then retention policies can be defined. The right scenario is dependent on how sound your data retention policy is.

Some organizations can be very specific as to what should be preserved (based on content type, owner, and date range), others may not have a detailed policy or a “save everything” policy. Either way a solution exists to migrate and secure data of value online and eliminate the use of tape as a long-term archive.