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
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
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
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
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
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.
Attend the Black Hat Briefings and
Training, Las Vegas July 29 - August 3
2,500+ international security experts from 40 nations,
10 tracks, no vendor pitches.