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Small Business Data Back Up

Nick Pegley

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Is it going to happen tomorrow, next week, in six months, or a year from now? It will happen eventually - your company will have data loss from an individual computer or a server. Are you prepared for this inevitable situation?

According to American Data Recovery:

* Companies lose more than 12 billion dollars a year from data loss
* 78% of this loss is because of system and hardware failure
* 11% is caused by human errors
* 60% of the businesses that lose data close within 6 months of the incident

The need to back up important data is something understood by business. However, they are often not aware of the fact that bad configuration, maintenance, or incomplete procedures and policies can mean large expense after a data disaster.

Businesses should consider these four important points when backing up and recovering important data:

What Kind of Data Needs Which Kind of Back Up?

When backing up and retrieving data from desktop computers and servers, there are many options. The method you select will depend on the type of data that you are backing up. If the information is updated or changes frequently, as in spreadsheets, email, and Word documents, tape back up may be your best solution, as this lets data be retrieved gradually within a specific date range. For info which is static or changes on rare occasion, an archive to DVD or CD could be the best idea. It's best to back up the laptops and desktop computers at your business with removable media such as a Zip drive. Most importantly, back up should be scheduled to occur automatically, or most likely it won't happen at all.

What Needs to be Backed Up?

When creating a plan, businesses should start with their most important information. You can determine what is most important by asking yourself what your company would need to get everything up and running in the shortest amount of time after a data loss situation. This most often includes production and manufacturing, prospects and clients, human resources, finance and accounting data, and email, artwork, and drawings.

Test, Verify, and Restore

In many cases the most overlooked element in the process is data verification and testing, omitted due to the associated cost.

Below you will find some best practices for back up solutions:

Weekly: Instead of just reviewing the back up logs, examine the back up and verify file list using a restore view.

Quarterly: Test your restoration process beginning with the most recent tape. Examine several types of files, including Word documents, an Excel spreadsheet, and the admin mail box. Choose different dates for all the files you restore.

Yearly: Be sure the system is secure by performing a total system restore onto a hard drive or blank server.

How Can a Business Avoid a Data Disaster?

Here are some scenarios to avoid when you are forced into a data recovery situation:

* Storing the tapes on-site
* Having no access to a tape drive, hard drive, and cables which are compatible when the tape drive is completely destroyed
* Using old tapes which are stretched and can't write the data cleanly

The back up plan at a company should be a part of an overall business continuity and disaster recovery plan to be most effective.

Nick Pegley is a marketing expert with All Covered: Technology Services Partner for Small Business, providing information technology consulting and IT services in 20 major U. S. metro areas. Outsource your procurement, installation and technical headaches. .


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