June 26, 2022


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How To Damage Backup Tapes

5 min read

Regardless of the entire more recent garage applied sciences like high-tech SSDs and the upward push of recognition in cloud garage, backup tapes nonetheless stay some of the cost-effective learn how to retailer huge volumes of inactive knowledge, making it the favourite backup garage way for plenty of organizations.

The backup tape’s major energy is its garage capability. A highly regarded form of backup tape, the LTO (Linear Tape-Open) Ultrium, as an example, has simply introduced its 9th technology in 2020, which now can hang a large 18 TB of knowledge in only a unmarried cartridge or tape. Then again, this energy additionally doubles up as its greatest weak spot: since a backup tape is designed to carry inactive knowledge, then keeping up the safety and integrity of its knowledge can be a problem.

Every other not unusual problem comes when the backup tape is now not helpful. Someday, it is important to ruin the information contained within the backup tape now not most effective to safe the unused confidential knowledge but additionally to offer protection to the group from attainable prison liabilities and environmental considerations.

Beneath, we can speak about all you want to find out about how you can safely ruin backup tapes: the other strategies to be had, easiest practices, in addition to choice choices you could wish to imagine somewhat than just destroying your tapes.

With out additional ado, allow us to start.

Knowledge Eradication

Bodily destroying the backup tapes is now not your best option. Every other viable possibility is to simply “ruin” or erase the information so you’ll both reuse the tape or promote it for additional cash.

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It’s essential, then again, to remember the fact that the information on backup tape should be securely erased or eliminated sooner than you’ll promote it, or else you’ll chance dealing with prison liabilities and you may also chance dropping your company’s compliance to PCI DSS  and different related rules.

If you wish to reuse your tape, then you’ll merely erase, label, and use it as you could with a clean tape. There are more than a few gear that may lend a hand with this, and also you will have to get started with the gear/platforms supplied by means of the tape’s producer. Then again, on this case, the erased knowledge would possibly be recoverable, so there’s no ensure of safety.

One surefire solution to completely remove the information inside a tape is degaussing, which is basically about passing the backup tape via an impressive magnetic box (with a degausser device). This may rearrange the polarity of debris throughout the tape, which is able to in the long run get rid of any resemblance of the in the past recorded knowledge, and therefore, make certain that knowledge restoration is unattainable.

There are a number of key advantages of the use of degaussers to remove your backup tapes’ knowledge:

  • 100% certain that every one confidential knowledge has been erased completely
  • Speedy and simple to do, so will translate to diminished working prices
  • Meets the Division of Protection 5220-22.M same old, NSA, and CESG necessities for removing labeled knowledge

Then again, sooner than you run your backup tapes to a degausser, take into account that despite the fact that there are some tape cartridges that may be degaussed after which reused, maximum won’t, and also you’ll wish to use a brand new tape cartridge. It’s because maximum backup tapes can have their “device instruction” knowledge this is at the date additionally destroyed by way of degaussing, so the tape is probably not recognizable after being degaussed.

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Promote To Specialist IT Asset Disposition Firms

For those who plan to ruin your backup tapes’ knowledge to promote them, then a viable possibility is to promote your tape drives to specialist ITAD (IT Asset Disposition) firms.

Now not most effective those ITAD firms can be certain the entire gross sales procedure is more uncomplicated however will make certain a safe and secure knowledge eradication for you. Firms like Large Knowledge Provide Inc. offers you a certificates of knowledge destruction, which will even lend a hand in making sure you’ll keep compliant with related rules.

Bodily Destruction of Backup Tapes

For those who don’t wish to promote or reuse the backup tapes, or if the retention length of the tape has expired, then bodily destruction (and ideally, recycling) of the backup tape is your best choice.

Degaussing, when executed on backup tapes that can’t be used after being degaussed (which is, maximum of them), may also be regarded as as bodily destruction, despite the fact that there may well be portions of the tape drives that may be salvaged/bought for money.

Degaussing, as mentioned, is probably the most safe and dependable destruction way for backup tapes, so this will have to be your first actual possibility.

Then again, if degaussing isn’t conceivable and/or too pricey for you, then there are different choices you’ll imagine:

Tape Shredding

Shredding the backup tapes, when executed correctly is an overly cost-effective way to ensure the information contained throughout the tape is totally eliminated.

Then again, there are two considerations when shredding your backup tapes you could wish to imagine:

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First, is that after the shredding isn’t executed accurately, as an example, if the shredded items aren’t brief/sufficiently small, it’s technically conceivable for unauthorized events to piece again the tape in combination and get well the information.

The second one fear is that shredding the tape will outcome within the cast waste this is now not environmentally pleasant. Probably the most cost-effective solution to do away with shredded tapes is by way of landfills, however even then, it’s nonetheless horrible for the surroundings.


Every other quite cost-effective approach (despite the fact that now not as reasonably priced as shredding+landfilling) is to incinerate the backup tapes. After the tape is totally incinerated, it’s clearly unattainable to get well any knowledge, making this system totally secure.

Then again, there’s additionally a disadvantage with this system: burning your tapes will free up chemical fabrics into the ambience, that could be forbidden to your location. Test your native rules sooner than transferring ahead with this way.


Securely destroying your backup tapes is essential now not most effective in making sure the integrity and safety of your delicate knowledge but additionally to keep away from attainable fines and different consequences because of breach of rules.

Whilst it’s unquestionably conceivable to ruin your backup tapes your self with the strategies we’ve shared above, we’d counsel the use of the provider of a credible backup tape destruction provider supplier or promoting your unused tape drives to respected ITAD firms that can give certificate of knowledge destruction.

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