Thursday, January 11, 2007

A word or two about data backup

Every company, large or small, should use some kind of backup for essential records and database files. More times than not, a company will have an automated back up schedule on a daily basis for important records. They may also perform complete system backups on a weekly basis or biweekly basis. These backups are also normally stored on site or on a network for easy access, although they may occasionally send copies to a more secure offsite location.

Your back up schedule ultimately depends on what your business does and how important your data is. Therefore, you should ask yourself -- are you backing up your data enough? Be sure to discuss your back up schedule with your IT professional by following these four guidelines below:

  1. Back up your most important files at least once a day. In some cases, such as vital database files, you may want to back them up even more often.

  2. If you back up files to a Zip drive or other portable media, rotate your backups between two or three different disks. That way, if a disk fails you still have additional (albeit slightly less recent) backups.

  3. Move backup media to a secure location, such as a fireproof safe or cabinet, on a regular schedule.

  4. Use software to manage your backups. Good backup software can save individual files that you choose, it can automatically save all files that have changed since the last backup or it can back up the entire system on whatever schedule you select. Many online backup services offer scheduled backups - an especially convenient feature if you're using a slow modem connection to upload your backups at night or on weekends.

  5. Finally, there are some online services providing data backup that are proving to be an ideal solution. Mozy (http://www.mozy.com) is a free service (up to 2gb) and has a very simple interface and robust solution.
Any way you choose, backing up your data is like changing your socks. After a few months of ignoring it, you will have issues.


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