Is tape reliable?

Storage tape is notoriously vulnerable to damage both accidental and deliberate. Tape is susceptible to all kinds of harm and wear and tear from various environmental factors as well as accidents. Your standard digital tape usually has a lifespan of about a decade or two depending on well it’s cared for. However what many tape users don’t account for is the threat of deliberate damage by malicious insiders. One survey found an astonishing 55% of respondents had some experience of this. Deliberate damage can be motivated by internal rivalry – a staff member trying to destroy files needed by another – or an attempt to conceal wrongdoing such as destroy evidence of email exchanges. As businesses are legally obliged to retain data such as internal and external emails for future reference, such malicious activity can have serious legal ramifications.

How to handle and store tape

Of course tape is vulnerable to catastrophes such as fire or flood. Most people know that exposure to magnetic fields can wipe data from tapes but this isn’t always fully understood. If you’re flying with tape, you usually don’t need to worry about walk-through metal detectors or x-ray scanners but some of the luggage screening devices can harm tape, as can hand-held metal detectors.

If you’re currently reliant on tape storage for your data, the following advice is all sound:

Store and handle tape in a clean, dust-free environment. Ideally it should be free from dirt, dust, cigarette smoke or ash, corrosive gas or pollutants including traffic fumes, and food.
Avoid getting fingerprints on the tape.
Avoid dropping it or rough handling. If shocks and jolts are expected (eg during transport) mitigate by wrapping the tape in protective material, such as bubble-wrap.
Avoid contact with water.
It should be stored out of direct sunlight or heat and away from electrical equipment or machinery.
Most recommendations advise that tape is stored between 65-70° F (or 18-21° C), and at a humidity of around 40-50%.
The best way to store tape is standing on its end rather than lying flat.
Properly wound tape is generally more resistant to damage.
Tape tends to be most vulnerable to harm during transportation or handling, so try and minimize both.

The solution we offer aims to improve on the vulnerabilities of tape so that your data is less susceptible to loss. Features offered by ShareArchiver include real time replication across different geographical locations to ensure your data is secure. Most importantly, ShareArchiver eliminates the need to handle and transport tape. Many businesses are obliged to handle tape archives in order to access and restore archived data. Our solution avoids the need for physical handling or transportation of your data because users can access and restore their own archived data from their workstation. Tape is most vulnerable when it is being handled and transported: ShareArchiver’s solution avoids this altogether.

Why user adoption is key to Sharepoint’s success in your organization

According to AIIM (the Association for Information and Image Management) at least 70% of organizations have deployed SharePoint in some shape or form in the last few years. The proliferation of Microsoft’s SharePoint software reflects how useful this file sharing and social collaboration tool can be to companies of all sizes.

SharePoint has the ability to improve your team’s productivity using its flexible collaboration features. It offers features such as version control for documents – potentially replacing the need for documents to be emailed back and forth. Team sites can be created to assign tasks and share calendars within a working group. Common workplace scenarios such as holiday requests, travel expenses and housekeeping tasks such as booking meeting rooms can all be executed efficiently within the SharePoint environment using process workflows.

But it can be difficult for users to adjust to the SharePoint way of working. Here are some tips to promote the adoption of SharePoint within your company:

Get buy-in from your team

It’s important that stakeholders are involved – right from the start of your SharePoint adoption. That includes everyone from the top to the bottom of your organization. It’s important that your senior staff demonstrate they are enthusiastic about SharePoint and that they use it in their own working practices.

Sell the benefits

Most users just want to know what’s in it for them. Be explicit about how SharePoint can improve their working lives and be clear about the benefits.

Address concerns

Don’t ignore user concerns. These may range from fears of role elimination to the difficulty of adapting to new working practices.

Have a long-term vision

Make it clear how SharePoint adoption is essential to your organization’s long-term goals.

Demonstrate success

Find examples of teams who are using SharePoint successfully and share best practice across your organization. Enable your users to share their tips and tricks and celebrate efficiency gains.

Be clear about what it is

Many people see SharePoint as a mere document repository. Make it very clear how much more it offers to their working lives.

Provide training and allow for adjustment

It may seem obvious but you need to train your users, and make allowances for delays as they adjust to new systems. Users will resent the new software if it adds an additional burden to their workload, so compensate for this.

Allow for customization

If users can create their own personalized experience within SharePoint it will seem less imposed upon them.

Maintain site performance

The goal of SharePoint is for it to become the central, single location for your business’s information sharing needs. However, with the amount of data that users require access to, site performance can be affected. The inevitable result is poor end-user productivity.

Maintain your SharePoint site’s performance using SharePoint archiving

Our SharePoint archiving software is a solution to help you overcome these challenges and use SharePoint more efficiently. ShareArchiver’s SharePoint archiving software reduces storage costs and enhances system performance so that nothing gets in the way of end user experience and user adoption of SharePoint.

How does it work?

SharePoint archiving replaces items or content in SharePoint with a stub. Tiny in size, the stub is an access point for users to restore the original document. The archived content is fully indexed and searchable by end users and can be restored very easily by the user. This means there are no barriers to file retrieval so the user experience is enhanced. A solid SharePoint archiving solution should be a key part of your company’s SharePoint adoption strategy to ensure there are no reasons for your users not to embrace the new way of working.

If you’re a business using SharePoint, why not take advantage of our free trial and see how ShareArchiver’s SharePoint archiving can help your business succeed with this platform.

File archiving growth predictions

Forrester estimates that the volume of data that businesses store is growing by up to 50% per year. It’s thought that by 2020, businesses globally will be producing 50 times as much data as they are today. What does this mean for your file archiving solution? And more importantly – what does it mean for the cost of maintaining it?

Let’s consider what data is being stored. Gartner estimates over 80% of stored data hasn’t been used or changed in the last 90 days. What this means is that businesses are retaining astonishing volumes of old and inactive data. File storage is usually blamed for the huge volume in data growth which is why it’s quite shocking to realize that much of the growth in data volume can be attributed to backup data. It’s thought that from 2010-2012, the average store of backup data grew 42% – much more than the growth in file storage during the same period.

The file archiving situation

So this is the situation businesses are facing: they are already sitting on large archives of data, their file archiving needs are growing AND much of the data they are storing is inactive. Legal constraints (which we explored in our last blog) require the data to be retained even though file archiving is a significant cost to the business.

So how do you tackle the problem? A number of tools exist to help control the volumes of data being stored. These include de-duplication, compression, stubbing, and analysis tools such as those offered by ShareArchiver’s file archiving solution. Tools such as these are created to reduce the volumes of data stored and hence minimize the costs of maintaining your data archive. And it’s already working – the cost of storing your file archive is around one sixth of the cost it was less than a decade ago. If data grows as predicted over the next decades, businesses are going to need to stay smart to stay on top. Make sure your business is using all the tools it can to keep a lid on its file archiving.

Email archiving solutions: advice on legal requirements

Don’t forget that your business is legally obligated to retain copies of both internal and external emails and present your records if requested. That’s a pretty tall order when you consider the huge volumes of email that modern offices produce. But whilst it’s a burden having to store the email archive, retrieving the data when required is an even bigger challenge.

The temptation for the harassed IT manager is to use a tape storage solution for the email archive but this solution is of limited use when it comes to trying to locate and retrieve an email record.

Here’s our advice on tackling this email archiving challenge:

For starters, make sure everyone in your organization is aware of the requirements and risk associated with email transparency. It’s good advice to assume whatever you write in an email could one day be published on the front of USA Today, so watch what you write!

Lawyers

Don’t be haphazard or inconsistent about your email archiving strategy. Plan your strategy for archiving emails, then set rules for retaining and deleting data. Remember you could be asked to account for this process in a legal conflict, so make sure it stands up to scrutiny.

Your email archiving solution should not be costly or burdensome to your organization and staff. If it is – find another solution!

Have an automated email archiving solution to archive your data rather than rely on human input. This makes it far more likely that your archiving rules will be implemented.

Make sure you can locate and retrieve your carefully stored emails! Choose an email archiving solution that lets you quickly and easily locate and retrieve data as and when required using e-discovery and quick restoration features.

Consider a solution that incorporates stubbing for quick and easy retrieval of email data with the associated meta data (date/time of send etc). Whilst the email content is important, it’s often just as important to have the associated data that puts the email message into context. This includes the people copied in and the time of send, as well as any attachments.

Although the legal requirement to retain email records may seem overwhelming, there are email archiving solutions that reduce the burden on your business. Don’t panic and don’t let it overwhelm you – talk to us, try a free trial and take back control of your email archiving today.