Re: Partly our own fault - or our bosses'
"They had a backup regime which consisted of an elderly secretary who's PC had a tape drive."
Ah, the years where backups of remote (no IT staff) sites equaled tape rotations by the PA (in general, the most IT literate of the site) !
It was in Paris and we were in north of Paris, and indeed local backups were done, I was told, on 4 sets of 5 tapes (4 sets for the whole month, and 5 tapes for each day of the week), manually rotated by the said PA.
Pro-tip, always make a reality check vs. anything on remote sites.
Turned out, going one day there, a *single* tape had been used for the last year, over and over again. No, the backup SW was too primitive to even notice (no labels). And no, there was no hope of restoring anything in case of need. It was DDS 2 if I remember.
And of course, the first day of the first period of vacation of the IT PA was also the date of the death of the DDS drive: I have no idea with what tool (hammer, wrench ...) she pushed the tape in the drive, but, for sure, the whole mechanism was destroyed that day !