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by Dave Gradijan

Two Fires at Archive Company Speed Search for Secure Backup System

Jul 28, 20063 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Two fires earlier this month at Iron Mountain facilities have sped up the company’s clients’ search for a secure electronic backup and archiving system, reports.

Iron Mountain, a records archiving and management company, lost an entire building in London and had about 3 percent of its files damaged at its facility in Ottawa, Ontario, mostly by water from fire suppression systems, the article states.

Melissa Mahoney, director of corporate communications at Boston-based Iron Mountain, told Computerworld that the fire in London destroyed Iron Mountain’s 126,000-square-foot structure, and an investigation is under way to determine why the fire suppression system did not contain the fire. An investigation is also under way at the Canada facility to determine the cause of its fire, but it is believed to have been caused by roofing contractors doing repairs.

Jeff Roberts, IT director at Norton Rose, a London law firm, told Computerworld that it lost some 7,000 files in the July 12 fire. The firm is using Clariion and Centera storage systems from EMC and document management software from Interwoven, and it expects the archival system to go live in a couple of months. At that point, Norton Rose may no longer need to keep anything on paper, Roberts said.

Even before this month’s fires, Neal Hennegan, director of technology at Gilsbar in Covington, La., was looking for alternatives to Iron Mountain, because when Hurricane Katrina struck last year, the Iron Mountain facility in Metairie, La., did not send Hennegan’s tapes to Baton Rouge as requested, Computerworld reports. He later had trouble getting his tapes after the facility flooded. However, Hennegan said he has not yet found an alternative.

Hennegan now makes duplicate tapes at his own facilities. “The days of physical remote storage are clearly numbered,” he told Computerworld. “If we were a smaller shop, we’d be doing all our backups over the wire now.”

Rent-A-Center is also looking into electronic archival systems because of the fires, Computerworld reports. It has been looking to move away from using backup tapes, and K.C. Condit, director of technical services, is talking with Iron Mountain about fire suppression in the warehouse his company uses.

Computerworld reports that fires can be extremely costly for companies like Iron Mountain. Settlements from a May 1997 fire at a Pennsylvania facility owned by Diversified Records Services are now up to $65 million.

Compiled by Paul Kerstein

For more information data security, read 19 Ways to Build Physical Security into a Data Center.

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