Backup Tapes: Prepared for the Unexpected
When unexpected disasters occur, like natural disasters or significant IT system failures, entire databases of information, systems and servers can be damaged or lost. This can significantly affect an organization’s ability to continue operating during and after a disaster.
In Saskatchewan, many government ministries and agencies are prepared to deal with these scenarios by relying on the Ministry of Central Services to make copies of critical information that would allow them to continue operating, should a disaster occur. Right now, Central Services saves some of those copies of critical information onto backup tapes (which resemble old VHS tapes), and keeps the tapes safely stored in offsite storage facilities.
The Commissioner recently issued Investigation Report 072-2018, which focuses on the use and management of backup tapes by Central Services. The Report also focuses on the issues posed by backup tapes as it relates to the requirements of The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP). In its Report, the Commissioner made several relevant findings including that, with some exceptions, backup tapes do not need to be included in a search for responsive records when an application under FOIP exists.