Fireproof Safe or Fireproof Data Safe?

Fireproof safes can be a difficult area to understand. There are so many different types and specifications that the choice can be bewildering. This guide provides some clear and insightful guidance on some of the key questions to ask and product differences to be aware of.

One of the first questions to ask yourself is what you are wanting to put in the safe. Ask yourself this question – do you want the safe for fireproof document storage or for fireproof data storage?

Generally, in an office environment, these are the two main types of content for a fireproof safe. A company may wish to store important company paper documents or they may wish to store a digital back up of their computer records. In either case, investing in a fireproof safe is an extremely wise business decision and can potentially allow your business to be up and running very quickly after a fire.

However, the type of fireproof safe required will differ. Paper will ignite at around 177 degrees Celsius whereas some computer data will ignite at 52 degrees Celsius. Therefore, it is quite clear that a different level of fire resistant protection is needed for these differing types of company record.

So, if you are interested in fireproof data storage you may want to look at the Phoenix Datacare range which is tested to Swedish NT Fire 017 standard and is specifically designed for computer backup tapes or digital media. Alternatively, a similar product for fireproof document storage would be the Phoenix Titan range, which is tested to the Swedish NT Fire 017 for paper so as to give 60 minutes of fire resistance to protect paper documents.

What is meant by fire resistance?

When we talk about fire resistance, we are talking about how long the safe’s construction will resist fire and prevent the inside contents reaching the temperatures mentioned above. Testing is done under controlled conditions and the Swedish NT Fire test mentioned above requires the safe to be heated to a minimum of 945 degrees Celsius. The average temperature of a fire will differ markedly but a figure of around 585 degrees Celsius is widely cited. So, you will see how rigorous the testing is.

Then, quite simply, based on this testing the safe is given a time for which it is fire resistant under those conditions; that time is the fire resistance that is mentioned on our product pages.

Do you need a fireproof and waterproof safe?

Clearly, a good quality fireproof safe is purchased as an insurance policy. We hope that a fire never occurs and that it will never be required to demonstrate its fire resistance but, unfortunately, the worst does sometimes happen.

If there is a fire, what will the fire brigade do to try and extinguish the fire? In all probability, it is likely to involve a lot of water… Therefore, a key thing to think about is whether you want your fireproof safe to also be water resistant. It is all well and good having a fireproof safe doing its job against the fire only for it to be frustrated in its efforts at preserving crucial documentation by water getting in and destroying the contents.

The Phoenix Datacare range mentioned earlier offers water resistance. Another safe to consider if water resistance is crucial to you would be one of our best sellers being the Burton Compact range of fireproof data safes; these are stated by the manufacturer to be waterproof.

Fireproof Safes

What type of lock do you want?

All safes, not just fireproof safes, can come with a broad and potentially confusing range of locking options. The most simple choice is between either a traditional key lock or an electronic lock, such as with this fire resistant Chubbsafes Primus safe.

However, increasingly, safe manufacturers are introducing more and more technological advancements to the locking systems that they offer. For instance, on the Phoenix Firefighter range it is possible to request a biometric fingerprint lock.

So, when choosing a fireproof safe, you should spend some time thinking about the different locking options and focus on how you would wish to access the safe and what levels of security your business requires.

We are experts in fireproof safes

This guide is intended to point you in the right direction in the central question of what exactly are fireproof safes and what do you need to think about when buying one.

There will undoubtedly be more questions or more specific, technical points that you are unsure on. In that case, call our expert team on 01724 281044/277479. At Safety Storage Centre, we sell fireproof safes from all of the leading brands and we back up this range with excellent product knowledge and customer service.

How safe is your vital data when it’s in the cloud?

Fireproof Data SafeThe current push to ‘cloud computing’ and storing vital personal and company data ‘in the cloud’ encourages us to ignore one simple but very important truth – the cloud has a physical location.

And because it has a physical location, the sophisticated IT arrangements to which you entrust company information and old wedding photographs is arguably at as much of a risk as whatever storage arrangements you might have on your own premises, if you’re thorough. The cyber-risk could be even greater, because it’s highly likely that as you read this, somewhere in the world a member of the hacking community is working to breach the security of whichever data centre holds your information.

As the amount of data held expands exponentially – its is forecast to at least triple in the next three years – not only will the prize for the potential hacker grow in perceived value, but the chances of some kind of IT ‘hiccup’ will also grow. Furthermore, a recent study has suggested that your cloud-stored data may not be immune from being seen by others using the same provider. However, this blog is intended to highlight not cyber-threat potential, but physical problems facing ever-larger data centres, and to suggest some advice as a result.

It’s not necessarily malicious attacks that we should consider. Employees, who are as human as the rest of us, make mistakes. Natural disasters like flooding and earthquakes can happen, power supplies can be interrupted, fluctuating temperatures (and IT can generate lots of heat) can cause problems.

Best then, as a business, to audit a data centre just as you would audit any other business service, or have a specialist do it for you. They would check all manner of things, no doubt based on the EU Code of Conduct for Best Practice in Data Centres, and looking for:

• ISO accreditations
• business continuity management to BS25999-2:2007
• the payment card industry’s PCI-DSS
• IL3 status for governmental systems
• power and temperature readings
• disaster recovery capability
• hardware efficiency
• thermal capacity
• airflow management
• physical security

All of which serves to highlight the level of risk faced by data centres, and by association, your data. This is not to say that we shouldn’t be using data centres for storage. However, we do need to be aware of any potential shortcomings, and to think of the sentiments of a man with no experience of data centres whatsoever; American inventor Benjamin Franklin. He said that distrust and caution were the parents of security. It’s the same thinking behind the phrase ‘belt and braces’ that we’re all familiar with.

And on that basis, perhaps you should be thinking of backing up business data and treasured family pictures and documents on your own secure storage device, and keeping it in a locked fireproof filing cabinet, as well as on the cloud? Software is readily available today that will do the backing up for you, quietly and in the background, throughout the time your computers are running. Large amounts of storage are found on stand-alone devices smaller than a paperback book, and therefore easily capable of being tucked into secure fireproof data safes or home safes. With two potential sources of recoverable data, there would be no need to worry about any loss of data, which would all be secure and to hand whatever the eventuality.