Often, our first introduction to a new business client is when they experience a major data loss caused by an IT failure. There aren’t many businesses who haven’t faced some kind of data loss. How quickly you recover (or not) is based purely on good IT practices, planning and due diligence.

This article will list out some basic steps you can take (now) in partnership with your IT provider to ensure that you are ready in the (very) likely event that something goes wrong.

Backups

If you do nothing else – ensure you have good backups of your key data. It is really easy to establish either an online or in house solution.
The aim is to ensure multiple copies of your core data are pushed either to cartridges, tapes or hard drives, or an online service.
The decision to go with an online service is usually based around the speed and reliability of your internet connection and the volume of data.
Onsite solutions are best to include a routine of rotating backup cartridges offsite to ensure that all data isn’t stored in a single location – think fire.
Fireproof safes are good but offsite is better.

Data should also be backed up in a manner that makes restoring the data quick and easy.
There is no point in relying on tapes to backup data if your tape drive fails or the computer housing it fails.
Backup media date quickly and the chances of reading data from older media is reduced each year as vendors stop supporting older technology – so do review this frequently.

Computer Systems

Backups are one thing, but if your business depends on servers, key software or computers that have complex setups, this can also be an area of concern.
Often software is licensed to run on a particular machine that has a particular specification – you should consider having a spare computer ready to go in the event that something does go wrong.
The cost of an employee sitting around doing nothing can quickly outweigh the cost of having a spare computer on hand.

Integrity Testing

Do you actually know that your backups are working?
Has a test been performed to restore key data and verify its integrity?
We have come across more than a few businesses who were slavishly inserting backup tapes every day for years – only to find there was nothing on them!
Backup integrity testing should be performed at least once per year to ensure that everything is in order.
We also recommend at least monthly sample restores of smaller data sets to ensure that there is an early warning if something goes wrong.

Depending on the budget of the client and the complexity of the IT systems there are many possible variations and nuances to be considered when designing and testing a suitable backup system.

Get in touch with us for an obligation free quote on a backup integrity test or to design a system for your business.