Tips for Backing up dataBilly McKindley
Data backups are never straightforward and it’s not uncommon to have multiple software packages and methods backing up your data, this makes documentation of backups even more critical in understanding which data needs to be backed up.
When approaching backups, we should consider the below items, you may want to add these to your backup plan:
- What Systems/Platforms are you backing up?
- Do these systems/platforms use different backup methods or software?
- How many days old can your backup be, before it’s considered too old for use in your business? for example, you back-up your email server nightly at 9 PM, emails are entering and leaving your business 24/7, if you suffered an email server meltdown at 9 AM the next day and needed to restore data from a backup, would it be acceptable for your business to lose 12 hours’ worth of email data?
- Multiple backups will reduce your risk, but only if you keep them on separate locations, this could be done by moving a copy of your backups to a secured offsite location, in the cloud or at your house (if appropriately secured)
- Test, test, test, one of the most common backup failures we see is failing to test the backups for corruption and missing data, this can be part of your monthly maintenance plan and is as simple as performing a test restore of data.
We have all heard the saying about ‘not keeping all your eggs on the one basket’, this is true for backup products, don’t be afraid of using different backup products for different systems, and leveraging built-in tools within software as this creates more ‘recovery points’ and increases the likely hood of data recovery, for example, Microsoft Windows as ShadowCopies which performs backups and versioning of files, which users can manage themselves, this can be a great way to remove workload from IT staff and your reliance on a single backup product.
- Identify what needs to be backed up.
- Confirm how many days before backups becomes too old to be useful.
- Send a copy of your data offsite.
- Leverage in-built backup tools within existing software.
- Spread your risk with different backup products and methods.