How to Securely Store Physical Media

January 30, 2020
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by Raymond Rangel

When people talk about the secure storage of media today we are usually talking about how to digitally store media in the cloud; however, there is still a large group of individuals and businesses who prefer to store information on physical tapes and hard drives over cloud storage. Storing physical tapes or drives requires a whole different strategy to keep them from being damaged by humans or the elements.

I have worked in physical media storage industry for 20 plus years and here are the steps you need to take to properly store your videotapes and hard drives.

The Elements Are Not Your Friend

Media tapes and hard drives are incredibly susceptible to damage from the elements which is why you need to store your tapes and hard drives in a secure vault. Most people who securely store physical media use a media vault; however, a vault like this can be expensive. A cost-effective way to store physical media is to purchase a safe and store your tapes in a climate-controlled room.

Your tapes should be stored in a room that does not allow sunlight and has a humidity percentage of around 35 to 45 percent. The ideal temperature in the storage room should be around 64 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat and humidity are physical media’s biggest enemy so it is important to find a storage room that can meet this ideal temperature and humidity range.

Some rooms to avoid when storing your tapes are basements and attics where moisture and mold are more easily created.

Keep your Tapes in Their Box

Even if you store your physical media in a climate-controlled room you should still place all your media in an airtight box or container. Old videotapes should be stored in a plastic VHS cassette box and not a paper box.

Hard drives should be stored in a designated hard drive container. Keeping physical media be kept in its designated box allows them to maintain a working condition for a longer period of time.

Be Kind, Rewind

If you are storing videotapes it is important to rewind them periodically even if you have not watched them in awhile. A videotape that is taken out during the movie will cause the film in the tap to sag and ruin your VHS tape. Rewind your tapes when you are done with them and place them in your vault room facing vertically like a book on a shelf.

Label Appropriately

You are the best at knowing what is stored on your physical media so make sure to label each piece appropriately with a short description of what is on the tape and if possible the date that the tape was filmed. This will allow you to easily find each tape.

Raymond Rangel is the Sales Manager of  Data Storage Centers in Phoenix, Arizona. Data Storage Centers are experts in the storage and organization of physical media and sensitive records for commercial enterprises. 



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