SSD’s Are Not for Long Term Storage

Although a Solid State Device (SSD) has a significant data transfer speed advantage over traditional rotating disk media, they have one major downside. Recent research has shown that unlike a traditional hard disk or tape backup media, which can be stored and accessed again many years later, an SSD will lose the data if left unpowered for a long time.

About a year ago there were scare stories, based on some enterprise level drives which were stored at excessively high temperatures losing data after only 7 days of not being powered on. Most consumer drives, even those used within most companies will retain their data if left unpowered for a significantly longer time in a more realistic real world situation.

Unless your SSD is stored at an excessively high temperature, most consumer models average about 2 years data retention, while enterprise level models have about half this timespan. For most people this will pose no problems at all, but it does mean that if you wish to retain a secure copy of your data for a longer time period, use of tape backup solutions or traditional rotating media are much better options.

This further reinforces our recommendation that an SSD should only be used for installing the operating system and program files, with all other data stored on hard disk drives. The fact that heat can reduce the data retention time to such a dramatic level may indicate that an SSD damaged in a fire should, if the data is required, be sent for data recovery as soon as possible, otherwise the chance of recovering the data may be lost.

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