View Full Version : Storage media for archiving documents
2005-06-12, 05:34 PM
I've been searching for a means of archiving client files, mainly to comply with State law which requires a six year storage here in new York.
What is the safest way to store electronic data for the long term without having to worry about the media deteriorating? I'd prefer CD's, but would consider other methods as well.
2005-06-13, 12:26 AM
I don't have any specific recommendations for hardware, but here's a few things to consider.
You might consider storing it in a couple of formats, i.e. archive to a CD and also to an external hard drive (which are quite affordable, reliable, and offer a huge amount of space).
Store it on an online data backup service (i.e., renting storage space on a server off site). This may be the ultimate in safe backup solutions (provided the service is reputable).
Almost all media will deteriorate - the question is how fast...
We use DAT tape drive for daily backups here at work - and the newer digital tapes are rated to last many years - but tapes have an uneven track record for long term storage.
CDs and DVDs work pretty well (we've been using CDs for long term storage and are now moving to DVDs) - though CDs have a longer track record than DVDs. You see ratings of a hundred year life span, but obviously that hasn't stood up to the real world yet. Twenty years under idea conditions may be more realistic. I'd recommend write-once recordable media (e.g. cd-r dvd-r), rather than rewritables (cd-rw, dvd-rw). And use high-quality, name-brand media. Don't use markers or stickers on the discs, etc.
Whatever media you use, consider that new technologies emerge, and in five years you may want to transfer everything to another format anyway (such as HD-DVDs).
Whatever you do, make at least two copies and keep them in two different places. And store them in a safe, temperature-consistent, environmentally-consistent place (not on top of the stereo speakers or next to the microwave :-)).
That's off the top of my head - HTH...
2005-06-13, 03:26 PM
I think irusun pretty much covered the technical end. You might want to post on some of the more general AUGI forums to reach a wider audience if you want feedback on what most firms are actually doing. We use CD's.
On the legal side there are other considerations. Are you also saving hard copies? I attended a legal seminar for architects where they said that in most states there hasn't been enough case law to establish the legal standing of electronic documents vs. hard copies (by the way, this applies to faxes & email as well). There is, however, a long case history establishing the legal standing of various forms of printed documents. Merely keeping electronic copies might leave you in legal limbo. The question becomes, "If you have saved a copy that can't be accessed have you really met your legal obligation to save a copy?" So if you are archiving for legal purposes you might wish to keep hard copies as well. Our office keeps both electronic copies and hard copies.
P.S. I am not a lawyer, I just play one in these forums. :) For legal advice that you can bank on, consult a real attorney.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.1.11 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.