Backup and Archive Data to Top Military Standards

Backup and Archive Data to Top Military Standards

The U.S. government has its problems, of course, since it employs human beings and human beings make mistakes. Citizens of various political persuasions can argue day and night about profligate spending, bad public policies, meddlesome agencies and, at times, unintelligible legislation. On the other hand, it does any number of things very well. One of these things, a big umbrella under which many different operations take place, is security.

The armed services secure the country and much of the world, and have first-rate equipment, top weapons systems and excellent communications gear. The U.S. military today is much more than a collection of soldiers with guns and sailors with gunboats. This is a technological age we live in, and at the forefront of technology is the U.S. government and the military.

Because it is also a bureaucracy, the Department of Defense (DOD) likes to have everything accounted for, documented, double-checked and compliant with standards. Those standards, of course, are government issue as well, and cover everything from the shell casing specifications for sidearm ammunition to the amount of salt in the MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). These standards, known as MIL-STD, also establish means, methods and expectations for technology, whether missiles or computers. All but the top-secret ones are published, allowing civilians, like the business owners reading this article, to backup and archive data to top military standards.

Development of security measures

There is a MIL-STD for every kind of security. There is a physical security MIL-STD for facilities, concerning construction as well as operation. There are MIL-STDs for computer and their components, too, like hard drives, modems and RAM. There are also standards that specify what the military expects of its data centers, and how those data centers are supposed to backup data in a redundant fashion. This means not only multiple backups, but at least one offsite backup, as well. Backing up working data is a daily task, but there is also the matter of archiving records that are not being currently used. Of course, there are military standards for this, too.

In the post-9/11 world, the need arose for military-level security and reliability in the private sector. Financial institutions and large corporations of all kinds have extremely valuable data to protect. One of the major components of military-grade security for IT operations is offsite data storage and archiving. These facilities began to be built in several areas of the country, all of them sharing certain characteristics and adhering to MIL-STD infrastructure, facilities and procedures. One of the most famous ones is even built inside a mountain of solid stone, although it is possible to meet top military standards without burying your backups under the Rockies. For some, perhaps the intelligence agencies of the world, this may be necessary. For most business owners, it is probably not.

What you really need

You may not need to archive your records offsite under a mountain, but you do need to protect your corporate against physical destruction in your facilities. In the 1980s, this meant physically copying data to tapes and driving them somewhere. Today, businesses can set up offsite archiving and backup procedures that work over a Web connection (the faster the better, of course).

When you want to make sure that you are getting the top grade of security available, look for the telltale acronym, MIL-STD, when you are reading about various companies and their offerings. Ask questions, too, if you do not see any reference to these standards. That could be evidence that the firm is not quite as state-of-the-art as they want you to think.

It is not just hardware and offsite buildings that get the MIL-STD treatment. Software can be military-grade or not, as well. For example, 128-bit encryption is now the top grade of protection, so encryption software has a MIL-STD to meet, just like the hard drive it resides on. There are even environmental engineering considerations, MIL-STD-810F, that require certain lab tests to certify that drives survive certain temperature ranges, pressures, amounts of moisture and degrees of shock. Companies work hard to meet these standards, which are strict, specific and straightforward.

When you want the very best in security, of any kind, there is no better judge of that than the same government that is securing our air space, coastlines and borders against invaders. When you backup and archive data to top military standards, you are safe from attacks, too, whether hackers, earthquakes or fires. MIL-STD has another meaning, too, and that’s peace of mind!