The importance of good backups
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.
Image: Filippo Giunchedi
Help-IT Consultancy : IT support for Essex businesses from our base in Southend