Digital records need good storage conditions too October 31, 2017

Each year as we approach the ‘wet season’, State Archives and Records NSW reminds agencies of the importance of good records storage. And while until recently we’d almost forgotten what rain looks like in Sydney, it’s important to remember that it’s not just paper records which can be damaged and destroyed as a result of inappropriate storage. Digital records on removable media or other offline storage are also vulnerable and must be protected.

State Archives recommends against storing records on offline media, such as CDs, tape, USB sticks and removable hard drives. This is due to the risks of loss, lack of back-ups and the dangers of technological obsolescence.

A recent case in Queensland highlights another risk associated with the storage of records on offline media: the records of a building company were on a server left in the back of a ute, and were destroyed because of water damage. While this is an extreme and unusual scenario, it does highlight the importance of ensuring that any facilities used to store records on offline media are suitable and well maintained.

State Archives has published extensive advice on appropriate storage conditions for records which have a physical format. These identify the importance of maintaining and monitoring storage areas to ensure that any problems or issues are identified and remedied before disaster strikes.

For specific advice about recovering records from offline media, please contact us.

And remember, don’t store records in the back of a ute!

photo by: NatCooper

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One Comments
Phillip December 5th, 2017

We counsel our clients to always have at least three copies of their data in various backup locations – 2 online backups, such as Google Drive, Dropbox etc, and 1 hard copy of their data, preferably on an external drive in a secure facility. We don’t recommend using ‘portable’ devices sucha s USB keys etc. We also advise that any hard copies of data are renwewed/rewritten at least once per fortnight.

Luckily we have not had a client lose data from the back of a ute, but we did have a client who once left their entire data set pertaining to their company accounting on their laptop, which they left on a ferry! Fortunately they were able to retireve it through lost and found.

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