Backup your data

by | Jan 5, 2012 | Business, Quick Skills

Backup systems and car purchases; a little comparison 

Have you ever heard the saying “I just drive a car to get to get from point A to point B?” This is almost never true. The truth is that we factor all kinds of decisions into our vehicle purchases. 

For example, safety is important. We will be packing our families and or pets or friends into these vehicles. We want to do better than just survive if involved in an accident.  

Additionally, reliability is vital. We want to ensure that our vehicle is going to work well for us on a consistent basis, and not break down to leave us stranded in the middle of nowhere. 

Comfort and options are nice to have but do influence our buying decisions. We generally want better than the bare minimum that a manufacturer offers. For getting from point A to point B and hopefully back again, bare minimum just may not do it for us. Some of us feel that we could really use multi-zone heating, good Bluetooth integrations, great navigation system and those wonderful, heated seats for those cold winter days. Personally, heated mirrors save me precious morning minutes. Although I am very confident when parking and backing up, it is nice to use the backup camera and warning system to squeeze a few extra centimetres out of a parking space or to limit the number of points in my turnaround.

Basic safety though is non-negotiable. We want a well—built vehicle regardless of the price that we are paying, whether it be entry level, mid-level, luxury, or high performance.  

Regarding technology… 

Time and time again, I hear smart business owners talk about their computer backup systems with a “point A to point B” mentality. Perhaps they talk like this because no one has explained to them about what a well-engineered and safe backup system should be doing for their business. Too many businesspeople are operating with the bare minimum and believe that they are protected from failure because they “have a backup.” However, protection by just any backup system is not a sure thing for the majority of the time. 

What does it mean exactly to have a backup? The truth is, it can mean a great deal of things, just as to “have a vehicle” can mean the difference between your personal safety or being stranded in the middle of nowhere versus a comfortable, reliable, and safe ride. 

A few key considerations when looking at backup systems 

  1. Recoverability. What happens when you delete a file that you have been working on all morning? What happens when your server hardware completely fails? How long is your business down for in a real disaster like a flood, fire, or an earthquake? Is your data protected in an offsite location somewhere else?
  2. Ask yourself, how often does the backup fail? How much do I have to pay my IT company to monitor and resolve issues with my backup system? How much risk do I carry by having a backup system that fails even a small percentage of the time? You need to be able to answer these questions. And you need to be able to assume some of the cost outcomes. It can be much more expensive to lose everything in your system than it is to keep it backed up well.
  3. Granularity, what happens if a file was deleted three weeks ago, and nobody noticed until today? Can it still be recovered? How far back can you restore from? And furthermore, how much time will you spend seeking that document before realizing that it is lost in cyberspace? Did you waste anyone else’s time to get them to help you find it? Are they waiting for you to produce it? Time is money. 
  4. What about retention and archiving? What about data from six months ago? Or a year ago? Any risk management and legal issues that come up with lost documents and data, again, can cost so much more than the investment to keep the backup system healthy.
  5. What about the backup window? Is data being backed up continuously, or does it backup overnight? Does the server slow down while the backups are running? Is employee productivity lost because the server is running slowly?  

So, do you know the answer to some or all these questions? If not, I suggest calling your IT provider and asking them sooner rather than later. 

Ultimately, a responsible business protects or mitigates risks associated with the lives and health of the families it employs and the businesses it serves. So, there are many of reasons why it is critically important to invest in a backup system that can protect that business properly. 

Unfortunately, there are a number of businesspeople in our community with a “point A to point B backup system.”  

Data Backup  

In this digitized business landscape, data backup is integral to the survival of an organization. Businesses put themselves at great risk to being hacked or ransomed. You could lose your data to thieves who sell your company information to the highest bidder. Injected malware can corrupt your hard-earned information. Additionally, disgruntled employees or other inside threats can delete your digital assets. Can you recover from data loss?  

Your data should be copied to one or more locations, at pre-determined frequencies, and at different capacities. Today, there are plenty of corporate storage solutions to help you calculate costs, avoid data loss, and prevent data breaches. However, a combined backup and disaster recovery program will keep you running at least virtually, while your system is being worked on by your IT provider, in the case of a real physical or technical disaster. This should be non-negotiable going-forward. 

Data backup includes these concepts 

Backup solutions and tools: Backing up manually is a thing of the past. To ensure systems are backed up regularly and consistently, small to medium sized businesses use a technology solution to backup their data. And most rely on their Technology Success Partner or Managed Solutions Provider to handle this. 

Larger organizations (100-plus computer users) should designate an employee responsible for backups — a backup administrator. That employee should ensure backup systems are set up correctly, test them periodically and ensure that critical data is indeed backed up. 

Backup schedule: an organization must decide on a backup policy, specifying which files and systems are important enough to be backed up, and how frequently data should be backed up. Your IT provider handles this. Smart Dolphins IT Solutions tests this regularly and makes backing up part of a long-term roadmap with a well-crafted plan created with client participation. 

A recovery point is the amount of data an organization is willing to lose if a disaster occurs. Have you thought about this? A current CAD drawing of an architectural project that is in the planning stages would hurt, if it is not backed up well. Recover point is determined by the frequency of backups. Once per day isn’t even close to enough. 

Downtime tolerance: Smart Dolphins has no tolerance for downtime; however, some clients have a tolerance if they are able to function without technology for a period of time. At the end of the day, no one wants to be down for any period. What is your tolerance? A typical administration-like office, for example, law firms, engineering, architects, head offices (admin/HR) among others need to mitigate risk. 
Getting into your vehicle or starting up your computer should be a worry-free experience.

If you are concerned about your backup and disaster recovery solution, reach out to us.