Iron Mountain has introduced a managed storage service it calls electronic vaulting, which automates the process of offsite data back-up. There is increasing pressure to speed up the process of retrieval and help firms to store more and more data for longer periods -- something that compliance laws, such as Sarbanes Oxley and Basel II, often make a legal requirement.
"This sounds like something that falls into an emerging trend with data protection," said Simon Robinson, analyst for the 451 Group. "The emergence of low-cost hard disks has made this easier. Tape is expensive and difficult to recover from, so it's better if you can keep things online."
The firm said that the managed service reduces the time it takes to recover backed-up information -- it has the ability to scan the entire network for file changes every minute and automatically save them to disk.
Many organisations still back up information overnight onto tape. Recovering data from tape can take a very long time, because IT staff have to sift through hours worth of tape to find what they are looking for.
"Desktop PCs and laptops contain 60 percent of corporate data," said Jon Fowler, director of business development for Iron Mountain. "You can also see a better audit trail, such as who accessed what and when."
"Seventy percent of the cost of back-up is labour related. This automatically backs up data and reduces that problem. It means you can retrieve data in a matter of minutes rather than hours."
The firm is targeting small-to-medium sized businesses -- the server electronic vaulting service is designed for regional offices with limited IT support and poor back-up facilities.