Hopefully by now everyone recognizes the importance of doing periodic backups. Many of us learned the hard way by losing something we needed. It may have been due to an accidental deletion, equipment failure or something worse. Several years ago around Christmas, my father’s metal stamping company suffered a major fire that took out the entire office space but left most of the manufacturing area untouched. He and the rest of his staff spent much of their holiday time scrambling to get temporary office space setup and figuring out how they were going to do business. They knew enough to backup their data. Unfortunately, they left the backup tapes in the office. They did have a plan to send tapes offsite, but human error stepped in and the most recent tape was left onsite. Eventually they were able to rebuild most of their data but this is the last thing you want to deal with in a time of disaster.
My point here is that your backups don’t protect your data unless you can do a restore. With that in mind, ask yourself a few key questions.
When was the last time you tested restoring critical data and when is it scheduled to be tested again?
- Who’s responsible for this and can you see the results?
- Do you know how long it will take to get your critical data back in working order?
Are your backups treated like the invaluable resources that they truly are?
- Are they rotated offsite in a secure fashion (ideally encrypted in case of theft)?
- Do you keep backups over a period of time in case you need to recover data from long ago? Not all data loss is immediately apparent and even backup tapes can fail.
What is your restore plan if critical equipment is missing? For example:
- Backup system is unavailable (e.g., broken tape drive).
- Equipment using that data is unavailable (e.g., server hard drive failure).
- Physical location is gone (e.g., fire, flood, etc.).
Don’t put blind faith in the “Backup Success” message generated by your backup software. Setup a process to periodically verify that your most critical data can be restored and build a plan to address the various scenarios that would require data restoration (e.g., file deletion, equipment failure, catastrophes).
William Jens is a Software Developer at PagePath Technologies. PagePath was founded in 1983 and is headquartered in Plano, Illinois. PagePath’s MyOrderDesk is an eCommerce solution that combines, Web-to-Print, automated proofing, pricing, reordering and more. It seamlessly integrates into a printing organization’s existing website or can be used as a standalone site. MyOrderDesk is known throughout the printing industry as the leader in Web-to-Print software.