We talk to companies about backup and data protection all the time. We also talk about archiving too… and many times there are questions about the two. Confusion is not the right word, but looking at archiving from a different perspective can be enlightening.

Based on some of the conversations we have had with clients, I wanted to put together a frequently asked questions (FAQ) list.

 

What is data archiving?

Is is the process of moving data that is no longer actively being used to a separate storage device (could be disk or tape) for long term retention.

What are the most common Use cases for data archiving?

  • Long term retention of business records to meet regulatory obligations (healthcare, financial services, call centers, etc.).
  • Storage optimization – offload data from your primary storage to a less costly platform.
  • Backup performance optimization – by removing archive data from your routine backups, less data needs to be indexed & backed up.
  • Privacy and Risk Mitigation – encryption of files at rest and in-flight and automation of retention policies by data set.

Are there assessment/evaluation tools to see if archiving is warranted?

Yes. There are data discovery tools that can look for “archive” data by file type/size/age/last accessed/ location/ etc. to determine the relevance of archiving for your specific needs. It is available as a free download … let us know if you are interested.

If we don’t have a specific archive budget – is it possible to justify to the the business?

Yes…absolutely! Regulatory requirements(s), postpone tier 1 storage purchase, and shrink backup data set size (many applications are capacity-based pricing) are among the most common. This combination of primary storage and backup budget dollars many times exceeds the “archive budget”.

In evaluating data archive solutions, what are some key feature we should evaluate/consider?

  • File integrity – through file fingerprinting, audit trails, self-healing capabilities, and/or tamper-resistance features.
  • Security – logical and physical separations, encryption.
  • Storage Optimization.
  • Ease of use and management.

Do we need to back up the archive?

No… not in the sense of a regular file/data backup routine. Ideally replicate the archive or have a secondary copy (backup of the archive. Some of the archive solutions also provide a primary and secondary copy, plus ongoing audit of those copies approximately every 90 days +/-. Each file is individually audited each audit cycle to ensure it’s available and still authentic.

Is using the “cloud” appropriate for archiving?

Yes. It depends on your needs and value of the your date. It is important to make sure the at the cloud environment that you are planning on using is appropriate for your data (i.e. security, redundancy, mobility).

For E Discovery or legal hold, does an archive complicate matters?

No, the opposite is true. Actually one of the primary purposes of an archive is for discovery processes.

Let us know the use case of how you have used archiving … or if you are not using archiving, give us a call to see if there might be a use case for you … our solutions experts and engineers love to share their opinions.

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