If you still rely on a tape drive as your primary or only backup device, then you might be in for a bit of a shock – you should probably ditch it.
Tape drives are an old technology which are significantly less reliable than newer, alternative technologies. Where our clients still own them, we recommend they are demoted and used as a secondary backup device.
There are two key reasons for this recommendation. Firstly, the cost burden of tape renewal (we recommend DAT tapes are renewed yearly) is onerous on small businesses. Secondly, tapes and tape drives are very prone to dust contamination. This dust problem is a particular concern in a small business environment where there are usually no nicely air conditioned server rooms. Most small businesses seem to house their servers in cupboards or in a forgotten corner of their office.
In our view, the best approach to backup is to combine a rugged removable hard disk with a secure remote backup service. Products such as the Dell PowerVault RD1000 offer fast backups to specially designed removable hard disks which offer durability and portability. Services such as our MegaBackup Remote Backup Service are reliable and cost effective as a managed off site backup solution.
If your small business is having problems with backup, then our advice is to avoid tape with a bargepole. There are better, cheaper solutions out there.