Trapped in a Bad (Data) Relationship?

By: In: Data Management On: Oct 02, 2014

Have you ever been in a relationship in which you simply couldn’t cut ties? Maybe you shared an apartment or pet together, or maybe things were even more serious. You knew it was time to end the relationship, but you also knew that doing so would be difficult. So you stuck around for a while. Eventually, you decided to cut your losses and hope for the best.

The same idea applies to your company’s data. Take Jim (a fictitious character), for example. Jim is a senior director of infrastructure. He manages timely responses to requests for data from his old tapes and other data storage components.  About five years ago, Jim was excited to move his company’s data using in-line encryption.

Jim decided on a Brocade encryption switch to encrypt data during backup to tape, though he also seriously considered software/drive-based encryption. This in-line technology was a great asset at the time, and Jim is happy he made the investment, but technology continues to evolve, and he doesn’t want to get left behind.

Today, there are three main tape backup encryption choices available: in-line encryption devices, software based encryption solutions and hardware/drive based encryption. Encryption use is going up, but it’s also changing. Most businesses are choosing software and drive based approaches, instead of the switches and appliances in which Jim once invested, and many wish that they didn’t have to use encryption at all; they feel stuck with it—like a stale relationship.

Jim wonders what his plan of action should be. He doesn’t want to “break up” with his old investment in Brocade in-line encryption, but he needs to find a cost-effective way to move his business forward. He decides to leverage a partnership with a company that can store, manage and access his firm’s storage in a cost-efficient, secure way—and even handle company’s recovery when unexpected disasters happen. The actual issue is that in-line device-based solutions are end of life.  Companies cannot maintain the equipment as maintenance contracts are no longer available and most corporate policies do not allow for unsupported equipment to be run (big business risk).  This issue goes beyond just wanting to move forward to new technology.

It is a bit difficult for Jim to determine what steps to take with his data. Though EOL on equipment happens all the time, he’s still stuck in limbo. Should he 1: migrate all data and decrypt/re-encrypt the tapes (very expensive)?  2: Mantain the unsupported EOL hardware (not acceptable business practice)? Or, 3: use a third party expert who can provide cost effective future proofing?  In the long run, Jim decides to find a partner so he can honor his previous tech investments and find greater savings over time—despite his department’s tightening budget. After Jim learns that Iron Mountain, which he already uses for secure data storage, offers these services, it’s one less thing Jim has to worry about in his day-to-day.

While Jim may be fictitious, I’ve seen this happen time and again with Iron Mountain customers.  It’s a common problem, but it’s one that doesn’t always quickly present an easily identifiable solution. The fact is: your IT department needs access to your aging data, and you don’t want to continuously purchase new ways to do that. You want a company that gives you access to all of your data—both young and old, in new and aging environments.

Recently, Iron Mountain helped a large pharmaceutical device manufacturer deal with a large amount of regulated data—over a thousand pieces of media. The company was dealing with potential litigation requests and a large amount of discovery requests, and Iron Mountain helped create a defensible process around litigation response. Instead of using a third party for discovery, the enterprise was able to leverage Iron Mountain’s expertise and further expand its partnership with our company. Wins all around!

For more information about Iron Mountain® Restoration Assurance Program, and how your company can make that breakup a lot less harsh, don’t hesitate to contact us, and be sure to stay tuned for the remaining articles in this special data restoration-themed series.

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About the author

Joe Schloesser

Joe Schloesser is a Director for Iron Mountain’s Data Management business, leading sales and account management efforts in the Enterprise and mid-market segments. Joe spends a considerable portion of his time interacting with customers as well as supporting Iron Mountain’s emerging solutions. Previous to Iron Mountain, Joe was a Regional Vice President at Countrywide Financial. Joe has a BS from Boston University and is currently completing his MBA at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).