In today’s office, the most important piece of equipment is no longer the filing cabinet that holds your open invoices, purchase orders, or customer contact information.
It is your Electronic Data.
Electronic data has surpassed all other office equipment as the single most important piece of equipment in any office.
At one point, a filing cabinet was SO IMPORTANT, they starting making fireproof versions of them.
But today filing cabinets hold blank envelopes, staples, tape, and markers.
The most important equipment in the modern day office is now your Data. Your electronic data holds everything and anything required to effectively run your business.
And there are two often overlooked areas regarding the protection of that data. Viruses and Backups. In this discussion we will discuss Backups.
Just as a fireproof filing cabinets was the best way to protect the company data, electronic backups are now the single easiest and most cost effective way to accomplish the same thing.
And what many don’t understand is that it’s not JUST the backup of the data, but the ability to restore on a regular basis. Most Virtual IT companies like ours, run monthly test restores as a backup is only as good as the restore will allow for. And electronic data is not foolproof. It can be damaged by magnets, heat, and dust.
The questions then become “How often should we backup our data. Where should we keep it? And who is responsible for it”. Remember, a computer network is only as good as the data on it and if it can’t be recovered, all the backups in the world won’t matter.
- How often should we back it up?
There are two trains of thought on this. Some say at the very least daily. Usually once, at the end of the day, after the majority of work has been done. Others need realtime backups. Real-time means the second it gets written to the File Server, it also gets written to a backup as well. Backups can be done on Hard Disks, Magnetic Tape, over the wire to a remote location, or on a portable drive. And the software used to run and manage the backups, should have email features built in so when an error occurs, or a backup does not complete, that information gets emailed or texted to someone so the failure will not go unnoticed……usually until it’s too late.
- Where should we keep our Data Backups?
In a safe, waterproof, cooled, easily accessed location. Our recommendation is to keep one copy local to the business and one Hosted offsite in case of a Critical Disaster along the lines of an Earthquake. Backups are somewhat similar to computer memory. Think of it this way, when was the last time you heard someone say “my computer just has too much memory”. Never heard it, never will. The same should hold true with backups. You simply can’t have enough. And you also want to maintain a history. We recommend at least a 90 day history. Keep in mind that many viruses that can be started on a specific date or time. By having a backup history, you may very well be able to go back and restore data to a time before a virus was opened.
- Who should be responsible for your backups?
Your IT department. They need to monitor each backup, both local and offsite, and run test restores to verify that the data is good, readable and restorable. Each company should have a primary Backup and a secondary backup person. Should one be out sick, this tremendous responsibility would then continue to work without issue.
The importance of backups goes without saying. You likely have a backup front door key for your home. You also likely have more than one person a hospital can call in case of emergency. Accordingly we recommend you have more than one data backup source and plan.
A company is only as good as its Disaster Recovery Plan. Remember, it’s not a question of “if” a computer will fail, but rather “when”. And how you are prepared for that failure will determine how well your company survives a data loss.
It seems we always run into the one or two customers that believe that they don’t need backups. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say “We are a small company and can rebuild any loss data easily”. But I’ve seen it….first hand. So for the record I’ve researched statistics on just this sort of thing:
The following data is from the ‘National Archives and Records Administration’ in Washington DC:
- 60% of companies that lose their data will shut down within 6 months of the disaster.
- 93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more due to a disaster, filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster.
- 50% of businesses that found themselves without data management for this same time period filed for bankruptcy immediately.
- One of Two major businesses never returns to the marketplace following a major data loss disaster. Of those that do, half go bankrupt within three years.
- 80% of businesses affected by a major incident either never re-open or close within 18 months.
- 70% of companies go out of business after a major data loss.
- 80% of businesses suffering a computer disaster, who have no disaster recovery plans, go out of business.
Without Data, a company cannot run efficiently. Data can become damaged, lost, or corrupted, in any number of ways. Hard Disks fail, viruses can infect, or hackers can gain access and disrupt.
The bottom line is that we need to take serious steps to protect our data and be prepared to restore it when any of these thing occur.
Be ready. Be diligent. But most of all, have a company that you KNOW you can rely on as you simply can’t do too much preventative maintenance.
Its money well spent knowing the first time you need to recover data, that your Crisis Management Plan will work.
Trust in a company like Creative Network Services, because we’ve been there before and know what works and works right.
You’d never let an Administrative Assistant tune your car. Don’t put them in a position where they are the ones responsible for the single most important entity within your company – your data.
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