View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. Technology
  2. Data
October 28, 2014

Top reasons for data storage failure

Matt Starr, CTO of tape storage firm Spectra Logic, with some invaluable data storage tips.

By Ben Sullivan

CTO of Spectra Logic, Matt Starr, gave a press audience at this year’s Powering the Cloud conference in Frankfurt some top tips about how to keep your data safe from failure. Spectra Logic specialises in long-term archiving and deep storage, especially with the tape format. What happens if you need to recover your data in over a decade’s time? Read on to find out.


One of the most common causes of data loss is actually human error. Clumsy handling (physical and virtually) has erased data all the way thrugh human history, from paintings catching on fire to Time photographer Robert Capa losing photos of the US D-Day landings.

According to Starr, "humans are the number one cause for data destruction".

Hardware/Firmfare/Software Failure

Not maintaining the hardware or software correctly, or using below-par storage options, can result in data loss.

No application, software, or hardware to read the data

Starr recalled the a case where a firm was being sued, but the evidence which would save them was stuck on a Powerpoint slide from the early ’90s. It took a while to update the slide through the ages until today’s software could read it, but the case was one. Millions of people around the world still have data on floppy disk drives, but do they have the hardware to read it? "Keeping the data is one thing," said Starr, "but keeping the application to read it is another."

Data format, operating system, tape or disk format

Firms that are keeping their data across various types of storage and formats will have trouble keeping track of everything now, let alone in the future.

Best practices to keep data safe?


Get a ‘fingerprint’ of your data. This involves using a comptuer algorithm to create a shorter string for your data, one that uniquely identifies your data. Just like a real human fingerprint, a data fingerprint can be used for deduplication.

Content from our partners
AI is transforming efficiencies and unlocking value for distributors
Collaboration along the entire F&B supply chain can optimise and enhance business
Inside ransomware's hidden costs

Index and categorise on ingest

How many people actually index and name their data properly? We all have a folder full of IMG_99943 images somewhere. But data is valuable, and one day a certain image of a person or of a recording could be of the most value to you and you could never find it. Create meta data at creation and you’re set for life, said Starr.

Migrate forward

Move your data off of older technology and onto newer, more secure storage technology. This one speaks for itself.

Tectonic separation

Move data across the world, advises Starr. A disaster, whether virtual or physical, generally doesn’t affect more than once country or continent at a time, so don’t place all your storage eggs into one basket.

Websites in our network
Select and enter your corporate email address Tech Monitor's research, insight and analysis examines the frontiers of digital transformation to help tech leaders navigate the future. Our Changelog newsletter delivers our best work to your inbox every week.
  • CIO
  • CTO
  • CISO
  • CSO
  • CFO
  • CDO
  • CEO
  • Architect Founder
  • MD
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.