I got an e-mail today with the subject We Buy Used Tape Media, which got me thinking. In today's environment, where lost backup tapes get companies, and their storage administrators, in the newspaper, and possibly the unemployment line, who in their right mind would sell their old backup tapes?The tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, granola-eating bunch an arts college like ours naturally collects loves the idea of recycling, but even for us this seems a step too far. Even though the e-mail claimed the process was HIPAA, Sarbox, and Patriot Act compliant, I've gotten e-mails in the past offering little blue pills and I'm still waiting for the wire from my new friend, the son-in-law of the king of Nigeria.
Given the fact that the Web site this e-mail represents sells refurbished LTO-1 tapes for $15, they can't be buying them for more then $5 or so. So is $5, or even $500, to your budget worth the risk? Even if they're completely legit, and completely overwrite the tapes, your data, and your reputation, are at risk while the tapes are in transit via UPS or FedEx.
Of course, if all your backup tapes are encrypted, the extra $500 would make a nice addition to late night administrator's refreshment fund.