Iron Mountain Strikes Again

12:45 PM -- Iron Mountain Inc. (NYSE: IRM) has lost more tapes. So is that a reason to cast aspersions? The Boston Globe reported last Thursday that Iron Mountain acknowledged misplacing two backup tapes from City National Bank, a Los...

July 12, 2005

2 Min Read
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12:45 PM -- Iron Mountain Inc. (NYSE: IRM) has lost more tapes. So is that a reason to cast aspersions?

The Boston Globe reported last Thursday that Iron Mountain acknowledged misplacing two backup tapes from City National Bank, a Los Angeles subsidiary of City National Corp. (NYSE: CYN). The tapes went missing April 28, just a month after Iron Mountain admitted losing tapes containing hundreds of thousands of records from Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX). (See A Tale of Lost Tapes.)

This time, there's no word on how many records were lost, but in a letter to customers, City National EVP Jan R. Cloyde states: "Names, Social Security numbers, account numbers and in some cases, other account information were on these tapes." The bank has reported no incidents of malfeasance related to the lost tapes.

As to keeping Iron Mountain services, a CNB spokeswoman says, "Right now, we're focused on notifying our clients and working with them to protect the security of their information."

Now we ask you, Should Iron Mountain be in disgrace? After all, it's a big company, one that "makes over 5 million pickups and deliveries of backup tapes yearly with 99.999% accuracy." How can such a firm be expected to account for a couple of lost canisters out of the many thousands it delivers safely? Get real.There's also no evidence -- we repeat, no evidence -- that anything real bad, like identify theft or scavenged accounts, has come of this. Not yet, anyway. Besides, the affected banks have engaged credit risk advisors. Sounds like they've got it sussed.

It's also important to put responsibility where it lies, namely, on the shoulders of customers who should know better. Encrypt your tapes! If you're dumb enough to send unprotected data in any form out of the office, you basically deserve what you get.

What's that? All the lost tapes were "in a format difficult to decode?" Hmm. Well, there's no accounting for personal error.

And another thing: Don't pick on Iron Mountain. Security breaches of all kinds are industry-wide. If the company already had over five nines' reliability, why should it waste any time looking for causes that don't exist?

Bottom line: Like we said, if you're dumb enough to send your data off in a can with somebody's semi-employed driver, you shouldn't be surprised when things don't turn out the way you'd planned.Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

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