When you have to comply with a government regulation like the SEC Rule described in last night's tip, or have a another pressing reason to ensure that data is stored indefinitely without being altered, consider investing in a WORM device. WORM stands for Write Once, Read Many. Optical discs like a CD-Rs are WORM media, but WORM drives also exist. A SanDisk memory vault device will prevent the deletion of any file which has already been saved to it. GreenTec's WORM drives ensure all data is read only by the protection in the hardware itself. No matter what operating system is used and what access controls are placed on data, it cannot be overwritten. EMC also manufacturers Centera drives which serve the same function.
Data storage devices can fall into hands other than those that originally acquired them to archive records. Drives are often in short supply and get repurposed. If a court order only allows a firm to retain a single copy of deposition transcripts or other documents after the settlement of a case, you want to guarantee the data doesn't get deleted inadvertently at some point. WORM drives may increasingly become part of standard electronic post-discovery due diligence for long term storage.