The 7 Tape Accessibility Threats You Need to Prepare For

Written By: Ontrack

Date Published: September 06, 2022

The 7 Tape Accessibility Threats You Need to Prepare For

Risk is a subject we rarely like to talk about. We may comfort ourselves with audits and handbook instructions, but how prepared are we really for a serious investigation, a malicious attack or a natural disaster affecting our data archive? Could your organization recover a specific mailbox in an investigation? Would your tape archive survive an inundation or other natural event?

Top 7 Tape Accessibility Threats

Backup Software Failure

Backup software is set up correctly and the process is kicked off. However, the actual backup data itself is never verified.

Storage Media Failures

Tape drive failure; corrupt or inaccessible tapes; the information written to tape can't be read (logical errors in the data). There is a significant difference between data from the last backup versus data from the point of failure.

Human Error

Errors such as accidentally re-initializing a tape or forgetting to enable the append option before starting a backup are common.

Volume of Data and "Findability"

Sheer volume of data and the ability to find specific content within the corporate memory. How do you know if data is lost or missing? For example, when companies merge, the operational, accounting, and client data of both companies needs to continue to be available. The various backup landscapes have to be harmonized (e.g., proprietary backup systems in Windows environments.)

Aging Systems & Obsolescence

Need to maintain legacy data; converting old static systems to another format or newer technology. Auditors may also request submission of old data records – such as, in the case of one bank, the submission of 17,000 sets of entries from the 1980s. The tapes were available, but the software and drives were no longer serviceable.


Fire, water damage, mud, extraordinary cold, heat or other natural catastrophes are often the reasons for tapes becoming contaminated, damaged and no longer legible using the standard means.

Forensically Unsound Methods

The data may be "readable" by a human but moving data incorrectly can modify the file or system metadata relied upon for compliance, investigative, and e-discovery purposes.

What is your top accessibility threat?


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