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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Are you sure you’re Backed Up?

I had a guy out to clean the gutters the other day. He said he hadn't called me because he lost his entire customer data base. He is presently reconstrucing everything from old invoices and memory. His experience is not unique. Even if you don't run a business, think of the number of irreplaceable photos you have on your computer. There are no negatives to reconstruct those photos. A back up is crucial.

In the event of a catastrophic failure, applications can be re-installed, hardware can be replaced but DATA that isn’t backed up is gone. Gone, as in, disappeared, never to be seen again.
Even those of us who do back up:
When was the last time you verified a backup?
When was the last time you checked to see if there is any data on your backup?
When was the last time you did a test restoration of your backup to see if it really works?
“If you haven’t verified your backup system, then you may as well not bother backing up.” And even if you do verify, you may still have other issues.
Many insurance companies are now asking their business clients if they have a disaster recovery program.
A solid backup procedure is a major factor in disaster recovery. Some part of the country is bothered by tornadoes, hurricanes, earth quakes, mud slides and other natural disasters. Don’t try and tell the businesses along the Mississippi River that there is a slim possibility of any disaster happening. Consider the client who was saving data to the hard drive when a car took out a pole on the near by highway and knocked out the electric. Surge suppressors don’t do a thing when the electric goes out. A head crash on the hard drive can destroyed it, without a backup you are out of business.
Backup is primarily designed to save the data.
If your systems or network were washed into the river:
►how much time would it take to replace the equipment?
►find the applications?
►re-install the operating systems?
►set up the network?
►re-install the applications?
►and then be able to restore from the backups?
►What if your tape drive is obsolete?
►How long will it take you to find a way to restore from obsolete media of any type?
►What if your backup was in the same location that is now merrily floating down the river?
Now is the time to start thinking about improving your backup procedures and implementing a disaster recovery program.
Simplest solution is to go out and buy a USB hard drive that is twice the size of your hard drive. Many of them come with a software utility to back up your data. If they don't, something as simple as 2nd Copy http://www.secondcopy.com/?gclid=CJLEuNfk8ZICFQQIFQodoSxT4g for a whopping $30.00 will copy your data daily to your external drive.

A full image backup captures not only your data but your operating system and all programs. The best I have found in that area is Acronis True Image 11 Home for the home user for less than $50.00. Frankly for the money and the peace of money, you should really go for the image backup. For those of us who are truly paranoid, of which I am, do both day to day, image and copy to other network drives. Your data is too important to lose.

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