A system and method are provided for performing storage operations relating to a first secondary copy of electronic data. A storage policy or storage preferences may dictate that a replication copy should be used in storage operations performed to a particular client, sub-client, data, media or other item. Based on the storage policy, when a new client, sub-client, data, media or other item is received, a media agent determines whether there is a replication copy of the item. In the absence of a replication copy, one may be created. The replication copy may be provided by a third party application, or created by the client or a storage management system component. Information regarding the replication copy and its corresponding first secondary copy may be stored in a database. To optimize use of system resources, storage operations relating to the first secondary copy may be performed using the replication copy instead of the first secondary copy.