I don't see anything in the article that would lead me to believe these are
archival tapes - rather, I think it's quite likely that they were backup
tapes that had been overlooked or saved "just in case". Of course it's not a
best practice but it's still far too common. The *organization* is the one
that doesn't understand the purpose of backup tapes, at least in my reading
Backup tapes still require highly specialized equipment (a tape drive) and
specific technical knowledge (how to restore that tape, using NTBackup or
Veritas or whatever and whatever version was running in 2004 - and on WinXP
SP1, or WinME, or WinNT40....?). Many of us have access to that but someone
who stole a locked cabinet during a remodel? I tend to doubt it. Not to
understate the issue here, just saying.
But yeah, it does highlight the need to treat backups as backups, not as
archives; to keep them as short as operationally valuable (for email, what's
the value of a backup tape 6 months old and therefore missing by some
estimates 100 or more messages per employee per day, or more than a million
messages for a 1,000-user company); and if they are to be stored outside the
physical control of the organization (and perhaps regardless given the
nature of this information) they should be encrypted.
Jesse Wilkins, CRM, Information Certified
Director, Systems of Engagement
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