Solid state drives (SSDs) are usually considered to be more trustworthy than their electromechanical counterparts, having no moving parts that can be damaged by bumps or jolts.
However, a recent study has cast doubt on their ability to reliably retain data over prolonged periods of time while unpowered, claiming that this depends to an alarming degree on ambient temperature.
According to Seagate’s Alvin Cox, who presented his research to the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council in March, a consumer SSD offers a data retention time of about two years if left unpowered at 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius).
A modest increase in temperature of nine degrees Fahrenheit, however, will cut that lifespan in half, meaning that a drive stored in 131 degree heat could start to lose data after just a couple of days.
Some commentators have expressed scepticism over the figures, but others agree that they demonstrate how organisations and individuals should rely on electromechanical drives to manage key data alongside their SSDs.
Kroll Ontrack provides software for MS Exchange and SharePoint, solutions for permanent data erasure, and services for tape archives, as well as data recovery.