Avoid these eight common backup mistakes
Those who save on data backup are saving in the wrong place.
Many only realize how important the stored data is when the first system crash occurs and a large part of the information is lost. Unfortunately, almost as many only realize at this moment that the data backup was not carried out correctly. However, those who concentrate on the most important sources of error in data backups 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 adapted to the data flow. A fixed rhythm is good, but it is just as important to respond to special events. For example, if special findings have been made, this is a time when the data backup should be updated. If, on the other hand, no work is done for a few days, a new backup of the unchanged data is not necessary.
2. Confusing a RAID system with a data backup
RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. Such a system stores redundant data on a regular basis, but does not react to the 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. An additional data backup is therefore necessary.
3. Always keep the copy close by
A backup copy is only safe if it is kept in a different building than the originals. For companies, it may also be sufficient if the corresponding 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 grandfather-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 the week.
5. No concept for system recovery
Restoring the system is not infrequently the real problem that companies stumble over. A well thought-out backup concept always has a complete plan for restoring the data. This should take no more than a few minutes in the case of a software-only problem.
6. Inflexible backup software
Small or young companies usually look for a backup solution that fits the current data volume. If the company grows, the backup often reaches its limits. Resourceful administrators can still tinker with extensions that allow the system to run even with the larger data throughput. But at the latest, when it becomes necessary to restore the data, this thriftiness takes its revenge. A system that has been individually tailored can usually only be restored with great effort. It is better to rely on software from the very beginning that already provides for the extension of tasks.
7. Unclear responsibilities
When it comes to backing up sensitive data, extreme caution is advised. Data must be secured in such a way that it is neither lost nor falls 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. If one of the people leaves the company, it should be ensured that the responsibilities are transferred to the successor.
8. Be deterred by the cost of security
Many companies save money - 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 there is no need to skimp when it comes to IT security.
About the Author Urs Langmeier, Founder and CEO of Langmeier Software GmbH
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