Avoid these eight common backup mistakes
Whoever cuts corners when it comes to data backup is saving in the wrong place.
Many people don't realize how important their stored data is until the first system crash occurs and much of the information is lost. Unfortunately, almost as many only realize at that moment that the backup was not done correctly. However, if you focus on the most important sources of data backup errors, you can successfully prevent an expensive loss. Urs Langmeier, founder and CEO of Langmeier Software, explains what companies should avoid when backing up..
1. Backing up data too infrequently.
The intervals between backups should be adjusted to the data flow. A fixed rhythm is good, but it is equally important to respond to special events. For example, if special findings have been made, this is a time when the backup should be updated. On the other hand, if no work is done for a few days, it is not necessary to re-backup the unchanged data..
2. Confusing a RAID system with a data backup.
RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. Such a system regularly stores redundant data, but does not react to the risk of failure of the hard disks working in the array or to human error. This redundancy cannot absorb a real system crash or even a physical destruction of the computer. So an additional data backup is necessary..
3. Always keep the copy nearby.
A backup copy is only safe if it is kept in a different building than the originals. In the case of companies, it may also be sufficient if the relevant data storage is located in a different fire protection area than the servers of the internal network..
4. Overwriting data too quickly.
Many small companies work according to the well-known big-father-father-son principle. In this case, daily, weekly and monthly data backups complement each other. The danger: the daily incremental backup copies are overwritten too quickly. The data store containing Monday's copy is already overwritten on Thursday with the next daily backup. It makes more sense to keep all daily backups until the weekly backup has been completed. This way, a complete system restore can still be accomplished at the end of a week.
5. No concept of system restore.
System recovery is quite often the real problem that companies stumble upon. A well thought out backup plan will also always have a complete plan in place to restore the data. This should not take more than a few minutes for a software-only problem..
6. Inflexible backup software.
Small or young businesses usually look for a backup solution that fits the current volume of data. As the company grows, it is not uncommon for backup to reach its limits. Resourceful administrators can still tinker with extensions that allow the system to run even with the greater data throughput. But at the latest when the data has to be restored, this thriftiness pays off. An individually tailored system can usually only be restored with great effort. It is better to rely on software from the beginning, where the extension of tasks is already provided for.
7. Unclear responsibilities
When it comes to securing sensitive data, great care must be taken. Data must be secured in such a way that it cannot be lost or fall into the hands of unauthorized persons. However, it is precisely these safeguards that can sometimes result in the loss of important information. Therefore, it should always be clarified who is responsible for a certain data area, who knows the passwords and who can start the recovery. At least two people should be selected for this at all times. Should one of the persons leave the company, it must be ensured that the responsibilities are transferred to the successor..
8. Be deterred by security costs.
Many companies save – not least on a well-functioning IT infrastructure. Hardware should cost as little as possible and software should preferably only be installed once. However, in order to consider the value of a backup, those responsible need only ask themselves: What does the possible loss of data cost us – and the loss of how much data can we easily cope with? The answers to these questions usually show that no savings should be made when it comes to IT security.
About the Author Urs Langmeier, Founder and CEO of Langmeier Software GmbH
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