[ISN] Fires Prompt Users to Hasten Hunt for Backup Alternatives

From: InfoSec News (alerts@private)
Date: Mon Jul 31 2006 - 00:29:14 PDT


By Sharon Fisher
July 31, 2006

Fires at two Iron Mountain Inc. facilities this month could speed 
corporate efforts to use electronic archiving systems that would obviate 
the need to store corporate records in off-site warehouses, users said 
last week.

On July 12, a fire gutted Iron Mountain's 126,000-square-foot storage 
facility in London, destroying all of the records stored there, according 
to Melissa Mahoney, director of corporate communications at the 
Boston-based company.

An investigation is under way to determine the cause of the blaze, she 

A day earlier, fire damaged a 65,000-square-foot Iron Mountain facility in 
Ottawa. Although the investigation isn't complete, the fire was likely 
caused by roofing contractors performing repairs at the building, Mahoney 
said. About 3% of the files in storage there were damaged, mostly by 
water, and less than half a percent were damaged beyond remediation, she 
said. Clients Have Questions

The fires prompted Rent-A-Center Inc. to step up plans to implement 
electronic achiving, said K.C. Condit, director of technical services at 
the Plano, Texas-based chain of 3,000 consumer-goods rental stores.

In the meantime, Condit is talking to his company's Iron Mountain 
representative about fire suppression in the warehouse used to store 
Rent-A-Center files.

Jeff Roberts, IT director at London-based Norton Rose, which lost some 
7,000 files stored in the London facility, said the law firm was already 
setting up electronic archiving systems prior to the fire.

Norton Rose is using Clariion and Centera storage systems from EMC Corp. 
and document management software from Interwoven Inc. to create an 
archival system that is projected to go live in a couple of months, 
Roberts said. At that point, Norton Rose may no longer need to keep any 
rec-ords on paper, he said.

Neal Hennegan, director of technology at Gilsbar Inc. in Covington, La., 
has been looking for alternatives to Iron Mountain since Hurricane Katrina 
struck last year.

Gilsbar files stored in an Iron Mountain facility in Metairie, La., were 
not sent inland to Baton Rouge prior to Katrina as Hennegan requested, 
leaving them locked in an inaccessible building for a week after the 

Hennegan said he hasn't yet found an alternative that is as cost-effective 
as Iron Mountain or that can deliver media on demand in less than 24 

However, "the days of physical remote storage are clearly numbered,"  he 
noted. "If we were a smaller shop, we'd be doing all our backups over the 
wire now."

Fires such as those that hit Iron Mountain's facilities are not unheard 
of, said Larry Medina, a Danville, Calif.-based records management 
professional at a company he asked not to be named. Medina, who is 
chairman of the Association of Records Managers and Administrators, cited 
three suspicious fires in March 1997 in an Iron Mountain facility in South 
Brunswick, N.J.

During Iron Mountain's earnings conference call last week, Chairman and 
CEO C. Richard Reese said that in response to the Ottawa fire, the company 
will take additional precautions during building repairs.

John Kenny Jr., executive vice president and chief financial officer, 
noted that Iron Mountain expects to exhaust a $750,000 insurance 
deductible it has for each incident. However, the company is not changing 
its financial guidance for the rest of the year, executives said.

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