In my line of work, a bad day at the office is when someone brings in a computer with a failed hard drive and no backup.
Experience has turned me into a glass is half-full technician, reciting the articles of Murphy’s Law as it pertains to data on a daily basis. Beyond catastrophic events, there is the ever-present threat of viruses; data gets corrupted and humans err. And these things always happen at the worst time - if you are a CPA, it will happen on April 14; if you are a retailer, Dec. 24. Your only safeguard is a solid backup and recovery plan.
A good backup and recovery plan begins with three questions: What data are you going to backup? How often will the backup be created? Where will the copy be stored?
People often skip the first question, opting to back up everything, every time. It is important to keep in mind that the more data you back up, the more your plan is going to cost, the longer it will take to complete each backup, and the more bandwidth you sacrifice in the process.
A good backup plan includes selecting files based on usage and file type. Files that are no longer in use are more suited to archiving than a periodic backup. Program files are better reinstalled than recovered in most situations. Database files should not be backed up while in use and locked files cannot be copied. Most data applications come with a built-in backup feature. The backup created by the software represents a single point in time and that file should be included in the backup, and not the live or open database. By selecting files for backup instead of entire drives, you will reduce storage and bandwidth requirements, as well as your recovery time.
The next consideration is how often should a new backup be created. This question introduces the concept of acceptable data loss. If your backup runs at midnight and your system suffers data corruption near the close of the business day, when you recover last night’s file you will lose all transactions entered. To answer the “how often” question you must consider what is the appropriate balance between acceptable data loss and system performance.
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Source: The Aspen Times
By: Katy Williams