Electronic Data Backup/Medium Policy

Mott Community College highly values the electronic data created by our Faculty, Staff and Students, and as such protects this data by creating backups. Backups are copies of the electronic data, that are kept for the purpose of restoring the original data in case of accidental deletion, hardware failure, corruption or disaster recovery. These backups are stored on devices/tapes referred to as the Storage Medium. The purpose of this document is to define the length of time the Storage Medium and the backups contained within are stored before being over written (reused) or destroyed. Depending on the type of data, the length of time to retain the backups will vary, the table below details Mott Community College's electronic data retention policy for varying data types:

Email (Faculty/Staff only) 90 days
Datatel (DW/Application Servers/Databases) 1 year
File Shares/All other Data 6 months

Storage Medium
The college employs two medium types for backups, tape and disk. Disk based backups will be created and stored outside of Mott's primary data center at Mott's business continuity location*. Tape based backups will also be created at the continuity location, but will be stored in a third secure location.

Previously created backups (backups created before May 15th, 2011)
Mott Community College is and has been creating backups of the college's electronic data, for as long as it has produced electronic data. This policy determines the length of time backups will be retained starting on May 15, 2011. Due to limitations in how data backups were created it is not possible to retroactively apply the same retention periods to all backups created before May 15th, 2011. In cases where data can be separated into the defined periods above, the media will be scheduled for reuse or destruction in conjunction with the schedule. All backup mediums which contain overlapping data types will be stored for the longest retention period of the overlapping types and then scheduled for destruction or medium reuse. Email backups created before April 25th, 2011 will be kept for 1 year from the date they are received/sent. All email backups created from April 26th 2011 going forward will be kept for 90 days.

Email Backups (Faculty/Staff only)
Mott Community College has contracted a third party for email backups. While the individual medium types are not similar, any company that provides this service to Mott will meet or exceed our internal security and storage polices. They will also retain data in conjunction with the table above.

* When the business continuity site is fully established, until then an alternate location will be used.

Example Scenarios:

File Share Examples:
Steve from accounting works on a monthly revenue work sheet. He creates this file on 1st of every month and plans on keeping the document on file indefinitely.

  1. Steve accidentally deletes June's file on July 15th, 2013. He notices the deletion on Aug 1st, 2013. He calls the ITS help desk, and within 48 business hours the file is restored. The request to restore the file occurred during the life span of the backup.
  2. Steve accidentally deletes June's file on July 15th, 2013. He notices the deletion on Feb 6th, 2014. He calls the ITS help desk and within 48 hours Steve receives a call from the help desk. The help desk lets Steve know that ITS restored the files from as long ago as possible (Aug 6, 2013) since the file did not exist on that restore, it was determined the deletion occurred before the Aug 6, 2013 and that the file is no longer available to restore. Since more than 6 months had passed from when the file was deleted, ITS was not able to restore the file.

Email Examples:
Nancy from Humanities is working with a different community college. Nancy receives weekly information on class loads to compare to corresponding classes at Mott.

  1. Nancy receives the email for the week of Jan 20th, 2015. She accidentally deletes the email on Jan 28th, 2015. In Feb 2015 she sits down to do some analysis, she realizes that the email is missing. She contacts the help desk who within 48 business hours able to provide her a copy of the email that is missing. The request to restore the file occurred during the life span of the backup. The life span begins when an email is received or sent, and lasts 90 days.
  2. Nancy sits down to work on her analysis in July of 2015, while working on the data from January she accidentally moves the email to the trash. She then opens the trash, and instead of restoring the email, she accidentally pushes the "delete from trash now" button. Nancy calls the ITS help desk to ask them to restore the email. ITS is unable to restore the email for Nancy, as the backup is not available. Email is backed up when emails are sent and received. Once 90 days have passed those backups are purged, even if the email is still in your current email.

Datatel Example:
Steven from registration inserts new students accounts into the Datatel system. These student accounts contain all the grades and financial data related for that student.

  1. On March 23rd 2020, tragedy strikes the Mott campus as the building containing the Datatel computer system experiences a devastating fire. The data center is a complete loss. ITS spends the next four weeks restoring key systems, using back ups stored in fire resistant safes located in a different location, ITS is able to restore most key systems to March 20th's, 2020. More recent tapes were burned in the fire. Steven will need to re-enter the student information into Datatel for March 21 forward.
  2. On April 25, 2026 Steven is requested by management to show exactly how the 2026/2 schedule for a particular student looked in Datatel on April 5, 2025. Steven calls the ITS Help Desk and is informed the oldest Datatel backup available for recovery is from April 26, 2025. Of course Steven can also request recovery of the Datatel database to see how the 2026/2 student schedule looked on any particular day thereafter as well as to see how it currently looks in the online live Datatel database.