Fireproof media safes are safes that are designed to protect fragile electronic backup media from the harmful effects of a fire. They also provide protection from high humidity, dust, magnetic fields and static discharge – all things that can cause damage to backup media.
The most important factor in choosing fireproof media safes is the fireproof rating of the safe. This rating gives an indication of how long the safe can remain in fire conditions without there being damage caused to the backup media contained in the safe. An example of a fireproof rating would be a 1 hour 125 degree F rating. This rating means that the safe could be exposed to a 1700 degree F fire for 1 hour without the temperature inside the safe rising above 125 degrees F. In addition, the humidity would not rise above 80% humidity. Don’t confuse this fireproof rating with one designed for documents, which is specified at a much higher rate of 350 degrees F for the internal temperature – computer media would be permanently damaged at this temperature.
As mentioned earlier, fireproof media safes are also designed to protect the contents from dust, magnetic fields, and static discharge. The seals on the door of the safe provide protection from dust as well as water. The outer conductive steel shell provides protection from magnetic fields and static discharge.
There are a number of other factors to consider when choosing fireproof media safes. One factor is the type of locking mechanism used on the safe. These include traditional mechanical combination dials, electronic keypads, and biometric scanners. The electronic keypad locking mechanism is more convenient to use than the mechanical combination dial. The user simply enters the combination on a PIN pad similar to the one used on an ATM machine. Multiple users can also be granted access to the safe with this type of locking mechanism. Biometric scanners provide greater security and convenience. Biometric scanners use a fingerprint scanner to grant access to the safe. The user simply places their index finger on the scanner for about a second to open the safe. Multiple users can be enrolled simply by scanning their fingerprints.
Other factors to consider include the type and amount of media to be stored. Most fireproof media safes offer a variety of convenient drawers designed to hold the different types of computer backup media. Drawers are available with storage for 3-1/2″ floppies, CDs/DVDs and various sizes of DAT tapes. The overall size and shape of the safe will be determined by the total amount of media that needs to be stored – be sure to plan for growth in the amount of storage. You will notice that these safes are NOT cheap. Though I keep a selection of “discount media safes” on our site, they are still expensive.
Now you are asking “What is the difference between a “discount” fireproof media safe and UL Fireproof media safes”? Good question! UL is Underwriters Labratory, which is a third party source that is paid to test products. UL may say that a fireproof media safe that lasts 1.59 hours in a test is only 1 1/2 hour rated. Where the discount ones are factory tested. 1:59 is as good as two hours for them. So the UL is a more trusted source. But you will ALWAYS pay more for a UL rated anything. Whether its a fireproof media safe or a blender for the kitchen.
As you can see, there are a number of factors to consider when choosing fireproof media safes. Be sure to decide which factors are most important to you in order to choose the safe that is right for you and your business.