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Old 09-26-2009, 08:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Fireproof backup & storage?

Hi all,

I am still quite the PC novice and would like to store a back-up hard drive I have. I was thinking of throwing it into a fireproof safe, but then I started to get worried about "what if the temp inside the safe gets so high it damages the drive?"

Is this fear unfounded or reasonable, as I don't really want to spend 300 bucks on a "media specific" fireproof safe.

I do not need to access this data, I just want to have a back-up copy of all my really important personal info in case of a fire. If a bank's security box was fireproof I'd store it there, but I highly doubt those things are designed for digital media.

Edit: Apparently hard drives should not run at more than 55 degrees Celsius (131 F). Is that information correct and is that the hottest my HDD can get before data loss?
- Kenji
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Old 09-26-2009, 09:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fireproof backup & storage?

You shouldn't store data you want to save in a fire-proof safe. I would suggest off-site backup or online storage (depending on your desire for privacy). It would be taking a risk that a fire wouldn't be hot enough to damage the safe then ultimately the drive. Just my opinion.
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fireproof backup & storage?

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Originally Posted by oldskool View Post
You shouldn't store data you want to save in a fire-proof safe. I would suggest off-site backup or online storage (depending on your desire for privacy). It would be taking a risk that a fire wouldn't be hot enough to damage the safe then ultimately the drive. Just my opinion.
I won't actually be accessing this information for probably 10 or more years. Hence I cannot really store it online as there is no gurantee the site will still be up after all that time. Also, this is off-site storage. I just want to cover all the bases I can.
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fireproof backup & storage?

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Originally Posted by kenji_03 View Post
I won't actually be accessing this information for probably 10 or more years. Hence I cannot really store it online as there is no gurantee the site will still be up after all that time. Also, this is off-site storage. I just want to cover all the bases I can.
Oooh, I had no idea you meant long term to that scale. How about a safe deposit box at a bank ?

EDIT: I reread your original post and see you considered that already. Why not just call the bank to see what you can find out ?
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fireproof backup & storage?

Well in all honesty, even a fireproof safe might not be the best bet. The truth is this, if a fire occurs and your drive is in there the heat generated from the fire could cause damage. Even with those media specific safes they are only good for a period of time. I have seen them say things like 1 hour, 2 hour and 3 hour. Which means that the fire bust be put out in that time for permanent damage not to occur.

Even those that can stand up to the time are only rated to hold up to a certain degree rating. Like 350 degrees. Anyone who knows fire knows that it can get a lot hotter than that. So even if you got a media specific one there is no guarantee that it will withstand the fire before it gets put out.

So no matter what option is chosen there are so many factors that go into making sure that the data stays safe given all options. Even with the best laid out plans there are still factors which can not be accounted for and it is those factors that can possibly cause you to loss the data.

The only real thing that you can do is research where you are going to store it, check their records and see if they have had a history of fires reported and other such things like break ins and such. Honestly a bank safety deposit box might be your best option. they are secure and banks rarely get hit by fire.
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Old 09-29-2009, 02:10 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fireproof backup & storage?

OK you don't just have one drive with the data on it you have at least 3, also the fireproof safe sounds like a good idea but the heat inside can still bugger up a drive as mak said I will look into something for you and see if it's available commercially at a reasonable price.
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Old 09-29-2009, 04:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fireproof backup & storage?

Best bet is a bank. They have a better setup to prevent fires then your house. Think of all the money (yes bills and notes, not just jewelry and gold) that is stored in a banks vault. Don't you think they have measures to prevent fires? Yes a fire can still occure but i'm almost 100% sure they have a rediculous amount of precausions to ensure that no fire would damage or get into the vault.

IMO a bank deposit box is your best bet. Is it 100% fire proof no, but it will be WAY more protected from fires there than in your home in some safe.
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Old 09-29-2009, 04:50 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fireproof backup & storage?

I would just recommend storing several drives with the media on it in different locations. Maybe one in a safe deposit box, one in a fireproof safe, one at some other location you deem safe. The chances of all three of those drives getting damaged is almost zero so you should be perfectly fine. There is no such thing as perfectly safe so just make multiples to lessen your chances of disaster.
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Old 09-29-2009, 06:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fireproof backup & storage?

If you are that worried about your data, then you might want to start thinking about off site back ups.

Even thought I have a RAID1 with a Back up drive for my MYOB data, I still keep an onsite back up of the MYOB data file on a private FTP. Chances of both my work and the data centre's building burning down to the ground at the same time is rather slim. Now this is a little over kill for my work. However I do this so I can offer this a solution to customers that require this sort of level of data security. (yes, I have a few of those)

However a simple method would be this. Get external hard drive. Back up your data and then leave it in the care of some one else that does not live in the same building as you do.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kenji_03 View Post
Edit: Apparently hard drives should not run at more than 55 degrees Celsius (131 F). Is that information correct and is that the hottest my HDD can get before data loss?
- Kenji
Even if the platter's survive. you still need to worry about the plastic that is used thin the connections. So even if your data did survive a file, you are still going to need to spend top dollar on a data recovery service to your drive working. They are not cheap.
Also when you think about it, 55 degrees celsius is not that hot if you are in a fire
You might want to read this Fire and Burglar Safes

Quote:
he power and fury of a typical house fire is immensely underestimated by the average person. The National Fire Protection Association has conducted accurate tests involving the growth and temperatures of fires. Did you know that just 3 minutes and 3 seconds after the start of an average living room fire involving a couch, that the temperature 3 feet above the floor within the room is over 500 F? Just 38 seconds later, the temperature in the room is 1,400 F. If you want to protect your possessions from an inferno like this, you will need more than a simple metal box.

.....

Computer tapes, diskettes, etc. are much more sensitive. These can be damaged if temperatures exceed 125 F and/or a relative humidity of 80 percent. You can purchase storage boxes and safes that will offer this protection for more than one hour as well.
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Old 10-05-2009, 04:42 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fireproof backup & storage?

thank you all for your replies. I am going with the 3 locations method. The safety-deposit-box, someone else's house, and my own house in fire-proof saves will at least ease my mind. The chances of both the bank and my local home getting hit by some kind of disaster are, for sure, a real risk, but a 3rd back-up in a different state should ensure this'll be safe forever.

This isn't work stuff or anything, this is just the digital-packrat stuff I have saved over the years. Our parents generation wants to hold onto toys from their childhood, and for me that's digital data (chat history, save game files, pictures, videos or other projects). Seeing as digital data is stored magentically and is impermanent I thought it important to do everything I could to cover all my bases. While you never think of a fire, typhoon, E.M.P. or anything like that actually happening, if it does you're F'd in the A and that photo of you and your beloved's first date is gone forever.

So, again, thank you all for all your replies. Tech-Forums rocks
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