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Inside TDV - The Data Vault Blog

Data Protection More Secure Than Alcatraz?

Well, I am back from the Data Protection Association (DPA) Conference in Oakland. DPA is made up of members of the offsite media vaulting and data protection industry. This year’s conference covered a number of industry topics, including updates on regulations such as HIPAA and PCI. We also went through a facilitated workshop that hit focused on increased customer relations and determining the most vital operating metrics in our industry. This is one of the smaller conferences that The Data Vault participates in but the intimate setting facilitated great discussion and idea sharing.

The conference itself was both educational and entertaining, not always an easy task when covering data storage. Part of the credit has to go to the venue, as I had never been to the Bay area and was fortunate to get a firsthand look at a number of places I had only seen on television. We visited Fisherman’s Wharf, rode the cable cars, and walked on the Golden Gate Bridge. The lone exception to my sightseeing wish list was Alcatraz, which was closed due to the government shutdown.

data protection - alcatraz

Speaking of Alcatraz, a lot of conversation was directed at the security features of today’s service provider’s vaults. This is an area of major advancement over the years and today’s media vaults security standards rival that of a maximum security prison. It is now common for vaults to be equipped with reinforced concrete walls, surveillance cameras running 24/7/365 and extensive sign in procedures for visitors. While these are great features for the safekeeping of media at rest, they do not focus on the biggest risk: media in transit.

DPA members agreed that media being transported to and from a company to their respective service provider is the biggest risk in the media storage process. Safeguards are a necessity from both the customer and the service provider. The single most important thing a company can do is to encrypt their backup tapes. Today’s technology makes encryptions faster and cheaper than in the past and is vital to ensuring that data is protected in the event that these tapes get into the wrong hands.

Encryption is a main component of breach protection in many federal regulations, including HIPAA HITECH. DPA attendees swapped “best practice” scenarios including locked containers and driver scanning features. One member jokingly brought up transporting tapes in an armored car (The Data Vault offers this feature, by the way).

At the end of the day we can always look at the latest and greatest vault enhancements, and as quality service providers we should, but we must not lose sight on looking at the bigger risk of safeguarding the media in their most vulnerable state.

Michael Payton
Operations Manager

For additional information or tips on protecting your data, contact The Data Vault by e-mail or by calling us at 502.244.1151.

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