With market conditions what they are, companies are looking at every avenue possible to cut costs and reduce their operating overheads – but this could be a false economy.
David Chen, Imation product manager at Ingram Micro South Africa says: "Often, they're not looking at what the trade off is for paying less."
A clear example of this, says Chen, is the recent trend towards the purchase of refurbished tape cartridges instead of sealed, quality checked and for lack of a better word, "new" tape cartridges that are the safest way of keeping data that's been backed up from companies' mission critical systems safe from harm and loss.
Chen says refurbished cartridges are a time bomb waiting to explode.
"There's been a wealth of research done into proper tape backup procedures over the years, not just in terms of how media should be utilised and rotated, but also into how media should be stored and taken care of once data has been written to it," he says.
"And as that research has shown, the improper use or storage of tape media can render it completely useless in the long run.
"With absolutely no knowledge of what has transpired in the life of a cartridge before it was refurbished, how then could it be a remotely safe place for the business to store its backup information," he asks.
"Normal wear and tear takes enough of a toll on tape cartridges, in fact, that's one of the reasons tape manufacturers recommend companies don't re-use their media all that often.
"But, things can happen to tape cartridges beyond normal wear. Handling damage, drive problems or entrapped debris are all common sources of tape failure.
"These issues can result not only in lower performance, but also compromise the media's integrity altogether – rendering their purpose as a backup medium completely useless," he adds.
Quite simply, Chen says users should buy new. If users are utilising refurbished cartridges, they should seriously consider the consequences of not having any reliable backup at all.
"There isn't a single test that can be performed on a piece of tape media to identify its history and what it has been exposed to that would degrade performance," he says.
"That means, not even the refurbishing companies know what's taken place in that cartridge's prior life," he adds.
"When it comes to a company's valuable data, it quite simply can't afford not to know," he says.