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When did you last check your backups?

At Intergage we are always aware of the need to continually backup our internal data as well as the data hosted for our customers. If you haven’t thought about your backups in a while, then it’s time for you to revisit your backup strategy. Statistics on the web state that 60% of companies that lose their data will shut down within 6 months of the disaster; 93% of companies that lost their data for 10 days or more go under within a year.

Your first step is to decide who is responsible for your backup strategy and set some regular review dates.

BackupDetermine the data to be backed up. Many programmes put their data in obscure locations, such as beneath the ‘Program Files’ directory on a Windows machine. If you have installed any new programmes recently, where is that data going? If you let users save data on their desktop, are their desktop profiles being backed up? If you don’t have automated tools to backup users’ machines, then enforce a policy of always saving data on your file server so that you can backup more easily. If you have such a policy, make sure your users follow it –regularly send reminders and audit PCs. At Intergage we train our employees to have a mentality of “my hard disk is going to fail tomorrow”.

Decide how many separate copies you need. I would suggest that you always have a minimum of 3 copies of your data, with at least one copy kept off-site in case of a disaster occurring at the primary location of your data. Make sure your backup strategy specifies how often the off-site copy is made: you could still lose everything since your last off-site backup. Have a mentality of “if my workplace burned down tomorrow – how would we get running again?” Using a trusted Cloud-based backup can be a good fit for many small businesses.

Ask yourself if you need to keep multiple copies of the data from different times? This is an important consideration should a virus or glitch break your most-current data. If all your backups are corrupted within a week of the incident and it takes you longer than this to notice it, then your backups won’t save you.

As well as your data, don’t forget the programmes that created it in the first place! If the worst should happen, do you have recovery disks or system images, to enable you to restore your systems to operation? Are you confident you can quickly get replacement hardware if needs be? Plan how long it will take to get your business operational again. Next time you replace a server, consider using virtualisation: you can backup your server easily as a single image file, and move to another piece of hardware with ease.

Consider how you check your backups. Use automated methods combined with regular manual checks of the content of your backups.

cloud-297846 640Don’t forget the Cloud! If you are using Cloud services to create or edit your data, make sure you understand your providers’ policy on backups, and take your own copies to backup independently if necessary. The same goes for data on your mobile devices!

I hope some of these points get you thinking about your data backups. Review everything regularly to make sure you keep your bases covered!

If you would like to find out more about Intergage services, please contact us.

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