How many years do you hold onto customer print files?

Salvy

New member
how long do you guys hold onto print files? We have about 2 terabytes from the past 5 years. We are considering a time limit from 3 to 5 years.
What are your standards?
 

wonderings

Well-known member
We hold onto them forever, though we do not have anywhere near the same amount of files as you do. We are under 1 tb. I am a pack rat when it comes to digital stuff, so keep it all. Hard drives are pretty cheap, if space is an issue why not move all the old files to a hard drive and put it away somewhere for "just in case"? Hard drives are cheap these days.
 

mwc

Well-known member
We just archive everything (used to be tape, but the last 4 years on externals)
Use about 2tb every 2years or so (rotating dual 2TB drives for redundancy).

Side note/Heads up for IT/Geeks : This year I bought 2 - 4TB drives to add on to our 2TB library. Using a USB Drive Toaster for access/swapping. One of our Toasters (VoyagerQ?) does not allow access to drives larger that 2TB...as I found out, but the other one we use (BlacX) does allow using the 4TB drives. Just check your Toaster specs if you are using them...
 

Salvy

New member
DO you have access to those archives at any moment or is it process to hookup the backup to get to older stuff?
 

WI-Flexo

Well-known member
We also keep all files forever. We average ~6000 files a year and our used storage is around 6TB. Storage is so incredibly cheep these days you may as well keep files forever. We store on Drobos using dual redundancy (mixed feelings on the Drobos but overall pretty solid) with multiple copies both on and off site. If we run low on space we simply buy larger drives. This way we can also access any file at any time. No waiting for a tape for hours and no hooking up backups.
 

PricelineNegotiator

Well-known member
Just picked up a 5TB HDD for $129.99 from Newegg. Honestly, unless you're going through quarter of a terabyte or more per month, I'd just invest in one or two HDD's and call it good.

Also, Google Drive is a great solution to back up files. $10/TB/Month
 

MailGuru

Well-known member
how long do you guys hold onto print files? We have about 2 terabytes from the past 5 years. We are considering a time limit from 3 to 5 years.
What are your standards?
What is your definition of "print files"? Are we just talking about the art? Or, do these files contain names and addresses?
 

johnny_jay

Well-known member
We only keep 3 issues back, 4 at the most but we mainly print time sensitive content.

Anything else that we may need to keep longer we burn to a disk, this is mostly reply envelopes/cards.

We receive about 30,000 pages per month.
 
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BarbWPP

Well-known member
We still have almost any file ever output. We started backing up to MO disks, then to CDs, now to DVD. We are a general purpose print shop, had a few newsletter/magazines through the years, but mostly job work. Our original, and ongoing purpose for archiving was to provide a service to our customers, and a couple have used our archives to restore some of their files after computer issues. We also offer some limited set up services, i.e. address changes for stationery, etc., so having files to "update" is essential. And it is nice to be able to find a logo when you need it (as long as the customer hasn't changed it....).

We used to scan with a Kodak Prophecy system, but it was long out of regular use at the time of the last company move, and all tapes were destroyed then. We had restored some files to make tiff files for CD archiving, but didn't get very far, and haven't missed them. So much about design and color preferences had already changed, much of the art/images looked dated even then.

We have considered networked storage for long term, but not set up anything yet.

However, it is getting difficult to get some of the oldest files to open. Pagemaker files can be opened in InDesign up through CS6, but not the CC versions. Old QuarkXPress files have been problematic for some time with newer versions of Quark (yes, we still use it sometimes). CDs, I was told, have a life expectancy around 10 years, many of ours are at least that old. Purging the archive would probably take more time than just keeping it all sitting around.
 

BarbWPP

Well-known member
So, I guess the main thing is, Why are you keeping them? How far back have you ever really needed to go for a restore? How likely is it that your customer can't provide a new file if needed?
 

F.I.ImGoingFishing

Active member
We only store 3 years if not repeated. Too much risk in having old files around as while we may state that client is solely responsible for proofing, we find it much better to state company policy than put client retention at risk doe to their own oversight or should they have dealt with another vendor at some point and forgotten. Kind of like making a policy that graphics is to save rather than save as or that logos are linked rather than placed. We have found these policies have strengthened relationships with the best of our clients. only boarder line clients have ever bulked about it.
 

michaelejahn

Well-known member
We ( I work for Datatech SmartSoft ) develop and market a Print MIS system ( Web-to-Print, MIS and Print Workflow Automation | PressWise ) that runs in the cloud. We keep everything, forever. Our PressWise customers do not pay extra. Their customers can always click on any old order and re-order - they can use the original PDF, or replace that PDF. Storage is inexpensive, especially when it lives in the cloud.
 

Questor

Member
File Retention time depends on terms of signed contract...

File Retention time depends on terms of signed contract...

The answer for "how long to hold onto print files" depends on the legal terms and conditions of the contract signed between the printer shop and the client. The retention time also depends on the physical format or size of the completed project results. We try to store all projects in a digital format to save storage space... Most other companies printer contracts unfortunately do not cover these areas that need to be covered to legally protect the printer's company...

Our State and Federal Tax records are retained in offline storage for an 7 to 10 year period in case of audit or legal concerns. We use this 7 to 10 year retention period as a guideline for retaining DIGITAL only copies of the client's original artwork. Print screens are retained up to 5 years depending on storage requirements and client account needs. NOTE: this digtal storage policy also requires our keeping for 7-10 years the OEM software (and possibly hardware/operating system if required) that could create or modify the digital images.

Given the relatively low cost of large capacity hard drives ($50 per TB) , we maintain a central file server that uses backup software to automatically make incremental backups of all files on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis that are cycled into full backups at year's end when the backup drive is replaced at year's end, taken offline, and stored.

Using these methods enables us to keep the client happy, keep us in compliance with govt tax regs, and allows us to keep our peace of mind that info we need is not lost ...
 

Questor

Member
Cloud Storage of client files can be dangerous for file retention...

Cloud Storage of client files can be dangerous for file retention...

If a company chooses to store client data files on the Internet through cloud services, they risk losing control and access to the data they need.

Cloud storage of client files can be dangerous due to:
1.) data security concerns,
2.) data retention policies of the cloud provider,
3.) cloud services concerns about customer service,
4.) speed of access to needed data files,
4.) the price of long-term storage through a 3rd party.

I understand that you work for a vendor that tries to sell these cloud services to print shops, but why do you think a print shop should give up control and access to their client files to be maintained by a 3rd party cloud services company?
 

narseman

Active member
DO you have access to those archives at any moment or is it process to hookup the backup to get to older stuff?
The "Toaster" he's referring to is an external USB device which allows you to simply plug a "normal" hard drive into it and use it just like a "thumb" drive. So yes, you can pick up a regular (SATA) hard drive, manually slip it into a slot on the device, plug the device into a USB port and read the files in a matter of 30 - 40 seconds?
I think they are available for PATA drives too.
https://www.amazon.com/Thermaltake-...y9iojkNYnbfjIFTwdTQYPzg&bvm=bv.85076809,d.aWw
download.jpg
 

dabob

Well-known member
I am a data hoarder - I have files dating back to the 90s and have had to go find some of them - one time we had a customer that used us for film and proofs only and they did a lot of work with us . . . then they up and moved to southern california without a hi by or thank you ma'am . . . funny thing is about 8 or 9 months later we got a call from them . . . their server had crashed and they had no backup for any of their graphic files and did we have any of them? We did not have an archiving agreement with them so we scratched our heads and looked back and found about 15 cds worth of files - we offered to sell them to them for as I recall 8,000 bucks. They were astounded at our audacity so we said think about it and give us a call they looked at the file list and then the cost of recreating them . . . then they called us back and asked how soon could we get them to them . . . so in our opinion it always pays to archive files. . . :)
 

michaelejahn

Well-known member
If a company chooses to store client data files on the Internet through cloud services, they risk losing control and access to the data they need.
I suppose the same thing can be said about the money in your bank. I work for a vendor, but really do not personally have some dog in the fight, but hey, what the heck, I will play along and play devils advocate.

Cloud storage of client files can be dangerous..
Dangerous ? What could possibly be *more* dangerous than housing your customers data locally ? I mean, earthquake, fire, theft - you could lose everything in hours. Where is the automatic mirroring ?


I understand that you work for a vendor that tries to sell these cloud services to print shops, but why do you think a print shop should give up control and access to their client files to be maintained by a 3rd party cloud services company?
We don't *try to sell" - we have been successfully marketing our subscription service for many years. We have over 100 customers, some of which have been using PressWise for a very long time.

your question - "why do you think a print shop should give up control and access to their client files to be maintained by a 3rd party cloud services company."

Because we do a much better job at it.

Are you more secure or reliable than Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Rackspace DevOps or InnoScale Cloud Servers ?

Probably not. And, if your company goes belly up, that data can be restored to your customers if need be.

Having said all that, when I worked for a rotogravure printer, our customers decided that they would archive important catalog assets in their data centers. I think JC Penney used Auspec ( Unix ) servers as early as 1994 for such things. Most print service providers are not IT driven ( some are of course, like Widen Enterprises )

So, thats my retort.

Have a spiffy day !
 

almaink

Well-known member
I still have archived files on CD's from 1998. Before that we used a Syquest drive to archive but those tapes got lost in a flood. After that we started burning CD's. Then when DVD's came out we stared burning those, I have years of them. Now I archive to a firewire drive and I also have a partition of the main drive on my workstation where I keep files from the lat few years. We are a small company without much work anymore so tis works for us. BTW I had to dig out a file from 2003 yesterday for a re plate, so we do occasionally need these but not often.
 

kdw75

Well-known member
We are a small shop so we keep them indefinitely. We currently have a 10 drive RAID setup with around 36TB of storage. Space never seems to be an issue. I would think that with the cheap cost of storage space you could keep files forever.

We still have racks full of floppies, SyQuest, Zip, Jaz, and DVD-RAM discs from the old days. We started using Quark back around 1990, when we bought our first Linotronic.
 
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Keith

Well-known member
After reading all these replies, I had a vision and saw the future where people will say things like, "Remember those hard drives? I got a bunch of them with petabytes of data lying around!"
 

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