Jim McGann, Vice President of Information Discovery with Index Engines (www.indexengines.com), says:

Tape remediation is quickly becoming a key concern for organizations. Do you hold on to everything or not? Backup tapes are created by enterprise organizations in order to protect enterprise data assets. Yet, most organizations do not have a policy in place to purge backup tapes once they outlived their disaster recovery purpose. As a result stockpiles of old backup tapes quickly amass.

Why not recycle or destroy all these old tapes? That’s not as simple as it sounds. It may be important to access data on these tapes in order to support current or future litigation. But only a very small percent of data that exists on tape ‒ less than 1% ‒ is typically responsive. And, until recently, it has been next to impossible to separate out the useless data from the relevant content that legal requires IT to retain. Thus massive amounts of old tapes are being kept unnecessarily.

Ignoring these tapes and allowing them to pile up in offsite storage vaults is not a process endorsed by corporate legal. New legal discovery requirements are causing IT departments to take a look at legacy backup tapes. As a result tape remediation projects are being driven by legal in order to take control of liability and eliminate data that is no longer required.

Historically it was far too expensive and difficult to understand the content of old backup tapes. All data would need to be restored first and then analyzed in order to determine what should be kept to support litigation and what could be purged. Restoring thousands or tens of thousands of tapes was out of the question. It would take too much time, money and legacy infrastructure.

The problem has been solved by eliminating the need for expensive and time consuming tape restoration and applying a more intelligent approach. Direct tape indexing technology scans tapes, creating a searchable index of the content. Full text and metadata search makes finding relevant content fast and easy. Once content is discovered it can be extracted without the need for the original backup software. This allows a company to deal only with relevant files (less than 1% of the tape content) and not the bulk of useless content. Direct tape indexing technology has made tape remediation an achievable project. Corporate legal and records management are usually involved to provide search terms, custodians and date ranges.

Rather than holding on to everything, tape remediation is a project that reduces risk and saves money. In an age of every growing data, tight budgets, even tighter compliance regulations and a more litigious society, remediating data has more advantageous than holding on to everything.

**Jim serves as Vice President of Information Discovery for Index Engines. Jim has extensive experience with the eDiscovery and Information Management. He is currently contributing to the Sedona working group addressing electronic document retention and production. Jim is also a frequent speaker for industry organizations such as ARMA and ILTA, and has authored multiple articles for legal technology and information management publications.

In recent years Jim has worked for technology based start-ups that provided financial services and information management solutions. Prior to Index Engines, he worked for leading software firms, including Information Builders and the French based engineering software provider Dassault Systemes. Jim was responsible for the Business Development of Scopeware at Mirror Worlds Technologies, the knowledge management software firm founded by Dr. David Gelernter of Yale University. Jim graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.