Tapes: Why reuse is better than disposal

Tape Drives Header

Are tapes still useful?

Tape Cartridges may not be as commonly known today, but they still retain certain abilities that modern hard drives and cloud storage solutions cannot provide. Although some businesses are thinking of swapping out their tape cartridges for modern alternatives, this may be costly and unnecessary. Before your business swaps, consider the benefits of tape data storage, and the issues with their disposal.

Although Tape Cartridges may not be the fashionable form of data storage, they boast a wide range of positives and are still widely used:

  • Tape Cartridges cannot crash and prevent data access.
  • Cartridges can now store 30TB of data on one tape (LTO9).
  • Owners can maintain physical control over their data storage, unlike cloud services.
  • Tape Cartridges are portable and less costly compared to hard drives and servers.
  • They are durable and can last over 30 years, whereas other devices need regular system updates to retain access to data.
  • Tape Cartridges are scalable, more can be purchased to increase storage.

Data risks with disposal

There are a few different methods to dispose of tapes, but not all of them are secure or safe for our environment. 

One of the most popular forms of destroying data tapes is through shredding. This method is often used for destroying CDs and other assets as it dismantles the physical structure so the data can no longer be accessed. Because tapes are flexible and very different from CDs however, they can often be left intact after shredding and become a serious data risk. 

More foolproof methods include degaussing and incineration, which, when done correctly, do destroy the data on tapes. However, these have significant effects on the environment, with degaussing being a heavy user of electricity which can be costly to both a business’s pockets and the environment. In addition, the strength of degaussers can deteriorate over time, meaning the process can be less effective when destroying data.

Incineration and landfill are even more harmful, potentially leaking toxins from the chemical composition of a tape’s coating into the earth. These chemicals can have a serious effect on livestock, plants, and even humans.

Save costs, restore and reuse

Like many other IT assets, tape cartridges can be reused through proper restoration which increases their longevity. 

‘Tape storage technology has become an ideal solution for several next-generation applications that are swiftly outgrowing their traditional storage infrastructure.’ – Insurgo Media

At S2S, working with Insurgo Media, we have an in-house tape data wiping facility which can eliminate all traces of information from tape in under 6 minutes. The KIT wiping system leaves no retrievable data and no chance of recovery, ensuring all tapes pose no risk to business data security.

Tape Drive Machine

KIT ensures full data erasure and is an eco-friendlier option for businesses wanting to do their bit for protecting the planet. Once wiped, cartridges can be reused by a business, without the need for harmful incineration or risking degaussing.

For more information or a free quote, contact us.

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