Data Archiving: Keeping Up with Technological Advancements
When it comes to data archiving, you can put hundreds of hours into establishing a system for storage and money into a secure place for that data. Then still be completely lost when, down the road, you realize that your data archiving has become obsolete or unavailable because of changing technology or compromised data.
There are four steps that you can take to increase the likelihood that your data archiving will stand the test of time, whether you only need to keep it for 7 years or hope for 70.
Choose File Formats for Data Archiving that Won’t Become Obsolete
You may be tempted by proprietary file formats that are ubiquitous and linked to software that you (and maybe even everyone else) uses. Saving your files in a format that links to software that is too specific (linked to the particular database software you use) or even as common as .doc, .xls, or .ppt, you run the risk of saving files that will become outdated. You never know when a new software will take over making even Microsoft Office, PowerPoint, or your current database program completely obsolete.
Many data archiving programs and preservation plans allow you to convert .doc, .rtf, or other word processing files to XML-based Open Document Format (ODF) for storing and to Adobe PDF for viewing; they also save raster image files such as .jpeg, .bmp, .png, .psd or similar as uncompressed TIFFs for preservation. Saving data in more basic forms instead of proprietary forms just might be the deciding factor in the longevity of your data archiving.
Don’t Store All Data Archiving Eggs In One Basket
Even the experts can’t agree on how long many given storage mediums will last. The longevity of optical media, magnetic tapes and disks is a mystery that cannot be solved. They seem to believe that CD-Rs will last 30-50 years, less than that for DVD-Rs, and CD-RWs and DVD-RWs appear to be even less promising for long-term use. These are all just predictions, and that is nothing to bank on. The fact is that any storage medium can fail at any time. For this reason, it’s important to use more than one.
Yes, ProStorage anti-static foam takes the security of data archiving to a whole new level by preventing deterioration or compromise of your data, but you can never be too safe. Keeping more than one copy of all data archiving separately is a great way to ensure long-term security. Spreading those separate copies over different mediums, whether external hard drives in anti-static foam and also in a cloud or hard disk drives in ProStorage or online, two completely separate venues for your data archiving is a great way to insure your data archiving for the future.
Perform Routine Checks to Ensure Readability
Your data files and history are not something to be left up to chance. Make a habit of opening files on a regular basis. Whether that means creating a schedule that sets aside a few days or a week quarterly to have someone check them all or doing it little by little, opening a handful of files a day, making sure that your files are readable is crucial. Your negligence to do so could mean the loss of files and that causes the time and money you put into data archiving to be in vain. If you find files that aren’t accessible, dig out another backup and make another copy using known-good versions of the files.