Every IT technician has a “war story” about a customer that thought they had a good back up only to discover it fell short when required. Let me tell you mine.
Many years ago I was providing IT support to a small recruitment firm in Osborne Park. They had about 10 computers and a small server that stored their emails and documents as well as their MYOB data. Backups were via removable tapes (remember those?) but, as a cost saving measure, only two tapes were in the rotation. Each night the server backed up to one tape and the other tape was in the receptionists handbag. Each morning she would swap the tapes. At this point I would like to stress that I did NOT set up this system and advised the owner of its shortcomings.
One night they were broken into and one of the things stolen was the server. It had one of the backup tapes still in the drive so the entire company data was now held on just one tape. I sourced a replacement server with a compatible tape drive but unfortunately when it came to restoring the data the tape wasn’t readable. We tried to use the tape in other drives from other customers but nothing could detect any data on the tape.
I had the unenviable task of informing the client that he had no data. No emails, no candidate resumes, no selection criteria and no records of accounts save a few printouts that were lying around. Watching a small businessman suddenly realise his business that he has poured his heart and soul into for years is about to disappear is not something I would like to repeat. In the clean up from the burglary they discovered another tape sitting in a drawer which we were able to read. We successfully recovered everything off that tape but it was six months old. He spent weeks trying to rebuild data from hardcopies lying around, bank statements, new emails coming in and from memory. After three months he gave in and decided to close the business.
He made three mistakes in his backup strategy.
1. He only ever had one backup copy at a time.
2. His data was only available in one format.
3. He didn’t regularly test his backups.
I vividly remember this story as an example of a businessman who thought he was doing the right thing but cut corners to save costs. He didn’t listen to the advice of his IT professional. This ignorance ultimately cost him dearly. These days you can insure against such a data loss but if your backup process is anything like this the insurance company is likely to reject the claim.
Now I wonder how many of our clients are in a similar position, unknowingly sitting on a time bomb that is about to explode. Are you one of them?
A good backup strategy should fit in with the rest of your business continuity planning, sometimes called a Disaster Recovery Plan. We have gone past backing up to tape and even portable disks are giving way to the latest technology – online backups.
For a lot less money than you probably think you can have:
- All your data automatically backed up every night.
- Transferred to a secure data centre.
- Ability to spin up the backup as a cloud server (additional charges may apply).
- Ability to recover a file deleted yesterday, last week, last month or even last year in minutes.
- A local copy for extra piece of mind and no additional cost.
- Daily reports confirming the backup worked successfully.
- Quarterly recovery tests to ensure everything is still working OK.
You need to have confidence in your backup system – your business depends on it. If you aren’t 100% certain you can recover all your data at any time, give us a call and we’ll give you a no cost appraisal of your current system.