PROV are pleased to announce the release of our latest Issues Paper: Use of Back Up Technology to Archive.
This Issues Paper defines the differences between archiving and back ups, and discusses issues with using individual pieces of media to archive data. It also addresses several frequently asked questions regarding why data should be kept, including how long data should be kept.
- Back-up technology is used to recover data over the short term when it has been corrupted or destroyed by hardware failure, software failure, operator error, or malicious action.
- Archiving is the process of ensuring that data is kept accessible for future use, even though day-to-day use of the data has ceased.
- Back-up is effective at short term recovery, but archiving is about long term access. This conflict in time frames means that there is a significant risk when using back-up technology to archive that the data will not be able to be recovered.
- The risk is caused by the need to have both the back-up software and the original application in order to extract meaning from the backed-up data. Consequently it is proposed that the use of back-up technology to archive data will not meet PROV’s standards.
- Individual media should only be used when the quantity of data makes other storage uneconomic.
- If individual media is used to archive data, an agency should institute a management regime to ensure that media is not lost, that the condition of the media is tracked, and that the information is copied off media before the media deteriorates or the technology becomes obsolete.