Is it Time to Review Your Backup Strategy?

We are periodically called in to help recover from an accounting system crash. In some instances, current backup data has not been available to get the organization back up and running in a timely manner.

Hardware is doomed to fail at some point in time, corruption can occur and tapes deteriorate. At these times, you don't want to discover that your backup strategy is flawed or non-existent. Most people have lost data at some point and know how painful it can be, but for an organization, losing mission-critical information like accounting and operations data can result in major costs and lost revenues.

This article is just a quick reminder to make the time to review your backup strategy. Today's options for backing up data are varied and can be quite cost-effective for small businesses. Either way, most businesses cannot afford not to have a solid backup strategy.

When you do your review, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How important or sensitive is the data on your systems and what would be the impact of losing it?
  • How quickly does it change?
  • How fast do you need to recover the data without seriously affecting the performance of your organization?
  • Are you backing up regularly?
  • If so, when was the last time you confirmed that you could successfully restore from your backup? Note: many databases, such as SQL, will not be backed up through Windows as the database keeps the files locked to prevent other programs from accessing them and corrupting the data.
  • Do you have somebody responsible for data backups? Are they verifying the logs or receiving e-mail confirmations from the system?
  • Are offsite backups required in case of fire or other disaster?

Hopefully these questions will get you started in evaluating your organization's backup strategy and motivating you to make the appropriate adjustments so that you will be ready should the unexpected occur.