Some of the offsite storage companies had a discussion about this.  There are numerous reasons why this is not ideal.  In short, they are simply not designed for secure storage, are prone to flooding and you cannot control your neighbors.

But let’s explore why more and more businesses are moving that way.  And in every way it is the offsite storage industry’s own fault.

A decade or more ago, the offsite storage giants starting buying up offsite storage companies to grow their volumes and eliminate competitors.  But the industry was so lucrative and paper was growing so fast; while the records storage life was a solid 16 years on the shelf. Of course, that led to hundreds of new start up offsite storage companies moving into the market place. Unfortunately, many only came in with the idea of a “Get Rich Quick” scheme to sell out to the big companies.

The reaction of the larger companies was to dramatically increase the Permanent Removal Fee to a level where records managers now referred to it as a Hostage Fee. Now the annual revenues attracted investor groups to come in and buy out the existing offsite storage companies.  They loved the high revenue for a relatively cheap piece of real estate.  The boxes were no longer revenue but just high priced tenants in real estate owned by Investors.  And anytime they wanted to increase their profits they just  increased storage rates and what could the corporation do??  IF THEY TRIED TO LEAVE…..THE HOSTAGE FEES WERE HUGE!

Smart records managers and purchasing officers feeling the bite of the increased storage fees and the punitive Hostage Fees started looking for a way to avoid these traps.

IBM, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and local high level service providers like AssureVault, BanksData and others offered Cloud Storage and now the Owner of the Data was back in control.  To reduce box storage, retention schedules were shortened and boxes no longer sit for 16 years.  The average is more like 7 years and in the next few years the volumes will shred down to 3 years.

With reduced quantities, the Owner can store in self-storage.Or in some cases; take advantage of available owned real estate to create an in-house records center and rely on the Cloud for quick reference. (Wasn’t that the model in 1970? )

We see the change in our Vault business as well.  In the 2000+ decade we sold a hundred plus vaults for offsite media vaulting. Large vaults, multiple vaults and even multi-level vaults were part of the ultra-secure Media Vaulting marketplace.   Extremely sophisticated Disaster Recovery tape storage vendors created super secure media vaults and our business included very large vaults and IT Managers and CIO’s could have their choice of Class 125, Magnetically Shielded Vaults that could withstand almost any natural disaster, and fire. The Golden Age where no losses occurred in 3 decades of Tape Back Up Vaulting.

But so many of those companies have been bought out and the tapes were moved to warehouses, non-vault environments and the clients only found out too late to affect the change.

So now the clients build their own vaults, smaller but more secure or for smaller clients, they use data safes.  The records managers looking for true information governance are taking control in multiple ways.

We see some of the Cloud providers now installing vaults and buying specialized storage racks so they can secure their own tapes.  Google recently bought an amazing amount of tape storage cabinets.

The lesson being given is that corporations will not be bullied.  If you reduce service, and reduce security, there is a point at which the clients make the decision to bring things back in-house or take advantage of new technology.

I predict the next step is for Self Storage Centers to increase their facility quality so the client can feel good about the facility; while not being locked into a terrible contract.

One day, we will read that FEDEX is offering Tape Vaulting as they have the most sophisticated courier system in the world. Google will start to secure the tapes that represent their high end clients’ Cloud. 

Smart records managers are re-inventing the information asset storage model and we are in the eye of the hurricane right now.  We will see the winds change shortly as new technology and new security make things possible that did not exist in their marketplace previously.

There is talk of the remaining Media Vaulters joining together to recreate the ARCUS model of simply Tape Storage but now with a localized Cloud in a Server Room in close proximity to the client.  In the end that might be the best model of all…..provided the records manager controls the E-Records.

Hugh Smith
FIRELOCK Fireproof Modular Vaults
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(610)  756-4440    Fax (610)  756-4134

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