Data Backup

Do you have a data backup plan?

If you answer honestly here, you’ll probably realize that the data on your personal computer is at risk because your data backup plan either isn’t actually being executed or isn’t being tested.  If you run a business, and you answer “no” or “I’m not really sure”, then not only is your data at risk, but your business as well.  Recovering from data loss is a common reason for businesses to fail altogether and the smaller the business, the more susceptible.

Data loss is never a part of our plan – we always say it won’t happen to me, or it won’t happen to my company.  In reality, it does…plain and simple.  Computers, and the hard drives that the data reside on, are mechanical devices and, as such, are guaranteed to fail at some point in their lives.  The trick is, will this failure happen at a convenient time for you or not?  Murphy’s Law would suggest it’ll happen at the least convenient time – meaning right after you have made huge updates to that spreadsheet or Customer Relationship Management software but before it was backed up.

So what are you really doing to protect this data?

First, you should decide what data actually needs to be protected.  Sometimes it’s easiest to just back up an entire machine without caring about the actual data on it – just do an “image level backup” and the software will take a snapshot of the entire system.  As backup media prices decrease and bandwidth availability increases, this method is becoming more and more prevelent as these image level backups can be stored on single media or even in the cloud.

How does Data Loss occur?

There are lots of ways for data loss to occur.  It’s common to believe that natural failure – meaning a disk drive crashing or a computer system just dying – is the most common way to lose data but, in reality, that’s not entirely accurate.  Many surveys and research efforts have shown that malicious intent by angry employees is an extremely common reason for data loss or corruption.

Theft is another method to lose your data.  Somebody steals your laptop, they also steal your data.  Data loss!

Hardware and software failure are also means by which you can lose your data.

Natural disaster is something most companies are keenly aware of and take regular precautions to protect their data from events such as hurricanes, floods and tornados.

I’ve experienced the IT industry for some 25 years now, and as it is possible to imagine, I’ve heard some bizarre stories of how servers and computers are stolen. Notebooks stolen from back seats of cars (data lost), a colleague forgot he left his notebook on the roof of his car; problem is he remembered when he was 160 miles down the road (lost data). Apparently the heavy material was stolen the next night as the thief’s had more time because of the alarm not being fixed fast enough (total information loss and company ceased trading within 8 months). Save yourself money; prevent information loss in the very first place by implementing a data backup plan.

Hardware Failure
So now let’s prepare ourselves if you have managed to never lose your laptop or have you entire IT infrastructure snitched then nicely done. There are mainly just three mechanical parts within a laptop, computer or server; 1) hard drive, 2) backup drive 3) CD or DVD. Hard drives do fail and it will, if it has not happen yet. Save yourself money; by executing a data backup plan, prevent data loss in the very first place.

Fire or Disaster (natural or not)
This is exactly what I believed until the Bunsfield oil refinery blew up and flattened everything within a 3 mile radius. There are scenarios and one and a million reasons I can give you exemplifying why you should back-up your business data. All of us understand the practice of information copy is simply good common sense. Assignment sensitive or critical information you do not need or can not afford to lose should be secured. PROTECT YOUR DATA! Should you honestly think because you will never lose it, you may not have to copy your information, please stop reading this post now and go and do something less boring.

Let us talk about the assorted means of securing back-up services that are other and your info. You will manage to obtain the solution which will best suit you or your firm, should you take the following on board.

Backup to CD solution.

To copy your file data to CD is not difficult, it might be time consuming to do this and each night you’ll need to be disciplined to put as much as an hour aside to perform this endeavor. To copy data to your CD drive is not an automated process and all of US know people get active. Once you have backed your information to CD please consistently check that the information is clearly on the CD after which take it home with you. There’s absolutely no point leaving it to be stolen or destroyed by fire along with your hardware.

Please don’t us a CD to archive info (safe files for a very long time) as I would not anticipate this type of media to stay constant for more than 2 years.
Backing up to CD has many limitations but it’s obviously better than not backing up your information whatsoever.

RAID

RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) is not technically a back-up but will shield your server disks.

All servers ought to be given every opportunity to remain alive, running a RAID configuration can help prevent data loss due to hard drive failure. Your server will take a single drive failure, for those who have 3 drives running in a RAID 5 configuration. RAID is not going to protect you from fire, flood, theft or any other disaster waiting to happen, but does offer business continuity.
It usually will not protect you from fire either so this process does have its limits.

Offsite Backup

Backing or Offsite Backup up through the Internet systems are usually connected with larger enterprise companies. Previously the high cost of high speed connectivity continues to be prohibitive to smaller firms.
This method of data back-up is now become completely accepted and is gaining momentum around the globe. The main reason for such grown is as the price of high speed internet connections has greatly reduced, virtually every business and residence is connected to the net with a minimal 2MB conduit as a result it’s now possible to back-up high volumes of info to your secure offsite data centre.

For me personally, the top component of an offsite backup solution isn’t the high encryption security levels in position, the price or the purpose designed infrastructure that is repeated where your information is stored, but it’s the fact that an offsite backup solution is a totally automated procedure. Set and forget, once you’ve set the program to copy your information at a particular time of every day you allow it to get on with its job of protecting your info and can just forget it.
If I controlled your copy procedure, I’d implement all three of the choices mentioned. A RAID system for business continuity, offsite backup to securely protect all my company information, and to empower a fast restore, a CD back-up of only my mission essential data which will keep my business running.