Fujifilm Introduces Tape Cases for Secure Media Transport
February 20, 2007 Alex Woodie
When executives at Fujifilm U.S.A. looked at the way backup tapes were being transported, they weren’t impressed. They found instances of backup tapes falling out the backs of trucks, putting millions at risk of identity theft. They’ve heard horror stories of tapes being jostled to death in transport, rendering their data unreadable . . . or tapes being ruined when shipped in containers that were left out in the rain . . . or disgruntled employees or snooping couriers getting their hands on tapes . . . maybe your tapes.
In short, they found a critical business process rife with errors and inconsistencies. “There is not a standard way or best-practice method to ship tapes by common carrier or courier,” says Rich Gadomski, vice president of marketing for Fujifilm U.S.A.’s recording media division. So the company set out to improve the situation with an expanded line of containers for securely transporting backup tapes, disk drives, and optical media to offsite locations.
The new products include the Data Tape Professional Case, which is designed to securely hold 18 LTO or 16 DLT or SDLT cartridges in their protective cases, or up to seven 3.5-inch hard disk drives. Support for 3592 media is expected to be added in the near future, and the company is also working on a double-wide version of the Pro Case that holds up to 40 tapes.
The outside of the Pro Case is made of high-density polyethylene, which is secured using lockable clasps and a rubber seal to keep water out. The interior includes removable soft tray inserts (for the different size media) that cradle the tapes and protects them from damage if the case is dropped or shaken.
The padding was a critical design point for Fujifilm, which tested its own tape cases and those of its competitors to determine the best way to protect tapes from the rigors of transportation. Gadomski says newer tape technology is prone to damage from transportation. “That’s a big problem with today’s high capacity tapes. They’re susceptible to shocks,” he says, adding that Fujifilm obtained endorsements for shock absorbency from the major tape drive vendors.
Another problem was the lack of best practices concerning media transportation. For example, the Pro Case enables organizations to keep media in the vertical position, which is the safest way to transport them, says Gadomski. “Customers are concerned about lost tapes, no doubt about it,” he says. “But there are also regulatory concerns, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which requires companies to demonstrate good-faith stewardship. The Pro Case helps them to enforce those mandates.”
Fujifilm also unveiled the Data Tape Courier, a single-use shipping device for adding more safety and security to the transportation of LTO, DLT, SDLT, 3590, or 3592 tapes. The outside of the Courier is made of corrugated cardboard and polycarbonate, while the inside features a one-piece plastic clamshell that cradles the tape.
The Courier was purposely designed with a non-descript “plain brown wrapper” appearance to maintain the confidentiality of the contents. Alternatively, companies may put the Courier inside standard courier bags or boxes, adding another level of protection.
While the bulk of Fujifilm’s efforts are aimed at ensuring the integrity of data on tapes in an insecure world, the storage media giant also reserves some of its efforts for the opposite effect: ensuring the full and complete destruction of tapes and drives and the data they contain. To that end, Fujifilm launched its new Media Destruction Unit, a 180-pound beast that eats tapes and disk platters for breakfast.
The Fujifilm PD-8700F Destruction Device features a two-pronged attack. First, a powerful capacity discharge degausser, rated at 10,000 gauss, zaps the media with enough juice to scramble all the bits. To make doubly sure the data isn’t coming back, the device features fangs, or a “drive destroyer,” that pierces holes directly into tape cartridges and data platters, rendering them physically unusable.
The PD-8700F will open a new era of do-it-yourself media destruction, predicts Gadomski. Previously, shredding devices were outside the grasp of regular businesses, as they usually required 220 volt power sources, needed a sound-proof room to reduce noise pollution, and air filters to diminish contaminants. Fujifilm’s new offering runs on 110 volt power, is quiet enough to run in the data center, and is much cleaner than its predecessors, he says.
Today’s regulatory climate was the driver behind bringing media destruction in-house with the PD-8700F. “There are chains of custody issues with litigation today. Sometimes you have to witness or sign off that tapes were destroyed. So that’s facilitated when you do it yourself in house,” he says. “But if you have 20,000 tapes you want to destroy, you have to make other arrangements.”
The Data Tape Professional Case ranges in cost from $75 to $99, while the Data Tape Courier is available in singles for $3.99, five-packs for $7.99, or 10-packs for $9.99. Pricing for the PD-8700F Destruction Device was not available as this newsletter went to press. For more information, visit www.fujifilmusa.com.