Jon Oltsik at CNet News argues that lost backup tapes really aren't that big of a deal. First of all, they're likely lost and not stolen. Secondly, tapes are fragile and probably won't last long. Third, they are likely part of an incremental set so may not contain all that it could have. Fourth, your average thief will have no clue what to do with it. And finally, the thief likely doesn't have the tools to pilfer the data. In short, Oltsik argues, you'd need a pretty determined, savvy, well-equipped thief to make it something to worry about. Check it out: One less data breach method to fret about: Perspectives CNET News.com.
It may all be true, but if my data's on the tape, I'd rather it was encrypted. Oh, and not lost.