The High Cost of IRS Hard Drive Failure

The High Cost of IRS HD Failure

Backblaze published a blog post today poking fun at the IRS, and while the post is interesting it has a couple major flaws. Now I will point out I am a Backblaze affiliate, I use Backblaze to backup my personal data and I really like the people that work at Backblaze so I hope they can take this post as constructive criticism but the reality is if the IRS was using Backblaze to backup their data the data would probably still have been lost.


While I love the simplicity of Backblaze it is meant for desktop backup. I can only guess that the IRS uses a Microsoft Exchange server and her emails were probably not actually stored on her computer but on the Exchange email server and the simple fact is Backblaze does not run on Windows servers. Even if the IRS had Backblaze installed on the desktops of all their employees the data was most likely not stored on the desktop but on the Exchange server and it would have still been lost since Backblaze cannot be installed or run on a Windows server.

Even if the emails were actually stored on Lois Lerner’s desktop and Backblaze was installed their is still a large chance that Backblaze would not have backed up those emails. While Backblaze will backup an Outlook PST file and other email databases, Backblaze will not backup an open or locked file. That means if she was a typical computer user, turned on her computer when she got to work and opened her email and kept it open all day or the majority of the day and then turned off her computer when she left Backblaze would never have backed up her open email database. Of course if she left her computer on all day and night and closed her email program regularly there is a chance that Backblaze would have backed up those emails, but that is only a chance.

Will Backblaze backup my email

As much as I like Backblaze the fact that they do not run on servers and do not backup open or locked files really limits them in business and government. When they overcome these two shortcomings Backblaze could make a big hit in the business and government backup space.

While I understand their post is supposed to just be a fun look at how ridiculous the whole IRS failed hard drive and lost emails has cost I think it is important to realize that Backblaze would probably not have been the solution in this case no matter how much money the IRS might have saved.

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