Category Archives: Data backup

Data Backup – Seven Golden Rules

The importance of good backups

Backups are important | Help-IT

Done a lot of work today?

Pretty important stuff, right? Possibly even vital?

I hope you know for sure it is safely backed up and recoverable if needed.

If you do, congratulations, you are in a small minority.

Many businesses cannot say for sure that their data is safe.

They trust haphazard data backup routines that rely on the efforts of one or two people to succeed. They assume. They hope.

Disasters come in all shapes and sizes. They can be catastrophic – like the fire that destroyed our offices many moons ago. They can be miniscule – like the file accidentally deleted by a client this week.

It is being able to handle that emergency that is the key.

Because you are a smart business operator, we are sure you aren’t going to leave something so vital to chance.

So what do you need to do?

Rule 1: Know what needs backing up, and why

The bedrock of all backup plans – know what you have, where it is, and how important it is. With this knowledge you can protect everything important, using the right media and with the right frequency.

Rule 2: Hold your data in one place

Individual machines and devices become a nightmare for successful backups. Company policy should be to hold a master copy of data on a server. One master copy, one backup. Easy.

Rule 3: Automation is your friend

Backups are not fun. They come at the end of the day, or end of the week, at that time where home – or pub if you are lucky – is beckoning. They rely on the weakest link in any system – people. Trust it to automated systems instead. They are reliable, consistent, and don’t spend Friday afternoon dreaming about a quick pint.

Rule 4: Backup often

This one is simple. The more often you back up, the less data you can lose when the time comes to recover an item. Less duplication, lower cost of recovery.

Rule 5: Watch your backups

You have automated your backups, right? And thus everything is more reliable. But even the most reliable systems need a little bit of checking, so make sure your backup systems get the once over. Check for errors, unusual activity, and most importantly, that they have actually run on schedule.

Rule 6: Testing, testing

So you have your nice automated backup system running to schedule. All is well. Isn’t it? You don’t have a successful backup until you are certain you can recover it. So give it a try. Periodically task a staff member with recovering data from the backup (for that ‘real world’ touch make it someone not involved in the backup process). Ensure you have a procedure to follow, and that the procedure works.

Rule 7: Backup your backups

It’s backup time. But backups can go wrong, so you’ll give yourself a safety net by making a copy of your existing backup before writing over it. Woohoo, you have a one generation old copy and a current copy. And now for the really clever part – you are going to make a further copy and securely store it elsewhere. That can mean taking a physical copy elsewhere, or using a cloud service for remote storage.

Congratulations, you are winning

So there you go, seven simple steps to happiness, security and a great night’s sleep. If you follow these, you will be a step ahead of the majority of businesses and can justifiably feel a little smug about your excellent data management.

And if you would like any help or advice in setting up a system like this, please ask and we will be glad to assist you.

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Image: Filippo Giunchedi

Help-IT ConsultancyIT support for Essex businesses from our base in Southend

When data backup nearly became disaster movie

The good people of Pixar revealed the dramas behind the scenes during the making of their second outing for Woody, Buzz et al, and with it gave us a drama as tense as anything their scriptwriters could have hoped to produce.

Data backup disaster for Pixar

The story, in greatly reduced form, is as follows: senior Pixar people suddenly start seeing files disappear, and then more, and then more. Before their very eyes, the data for their entire movie is being deleted from the bottom up. The order goes out to pull the plug – take the entire system offline in order to try and stop the damage. But the damage is considerable, and huge chunks of data have already been deleted.

However, all is well, because Pixar of course have backups. Except, it emerges, the data backups haven’t been working for a while. The feel-good family movie has suddenly turned into a massive disaster story.

As we know, however, the movie was made. So what saved Toy Story 2? I’ll leave that to the storytellers:

Would your ending be a tearjerker?

The Pixar tale is an eye-opener as it brings home just how close a disaster can be, even to a project this visible or a company this tech-savvy. After breathing the sigh of relief on their behalf it should nudge every business to take a long and hard look at their own data security and backup arrangements.

The disaster that can ruin you does not always have to be a huge dramatic event – although we at Help-IT did have the experience of suffering a fire that destroyed our premises, and survived by having a solid backup solution – it can be as simple as the wrong person playing with the wrong files, or the wrong piece of hardware failing at the wrong moment.

Likewise while you may feel you have adequate backups, unless you have proven you can restore your data from them you too could simply be relying on a miracle should disaster strike.

In short: Be sure that you understand where your risks lie, and how great they are. Don’t trust assumptions about the safety and security of your data, ensure the backup solutions are in place and robust, and always be sure to test your backups regularly.

Help-IT can help you gain the most from your IT infrastructure, and help to safeguard the data that is vital to your business. To learn more, simply click here!