Following on from last weeks 12 Ways to backup your data, here are 15 tips to bear in mind when planning your backup strategy .
UPDATE : A big big big thank you to Jason of The IT Managers Journal for suggesting the last five!
- Have one - Even if you’re backing up to floppy disks! At least make sure you have some type of backup.
- Keep it simple - Human is always the weakest link, they forget to change the tape, cancel backup jobs or turn off the computer getting backed up.
- Offsite - Store your backup’s off site whenever possible in case of fire or theft. Maybe ask a neighbouring business to store the backup media?
- Secure - Make sure the data is encrypted and physically safe. Is the solution protected from fire, water and natural disasters?
- Archiving - When you’ve just finished a large or important project, consider taking a snapshot/backup of your documents and files on to removable media.
- Unnecessary backups - Is the backup solution taking longer and longer to perform? Have you checked exactly what’s in the backup? Large media files such MP3’s, duplicated content from people emailing files rather than sharing them or old content that no-one every uses.
- Test the backup solution - Just as important as backing up, try recovering your data in a test run. Test this at least twice a year
- Local copy - Backup data online, make sure you perform local backup every so often, that way you don’t have wait to download all your company data.
- Think about the future - If you have the budget to buy more storage than you currently need. Trust me your more than likely to double your backup requirements within two years.
- Replacement Media - If using tape backup solution, you should clean the drive once a month with a cleaning tape and also replace tapes as advised by the manufacture guidelines.
- Regularity of backups - Depending on the importance of the data don’t just presume an over night backup solution is enough. Write a list of things that need backing up and order them in importance for the business.
- Hybrid Backup Solution - Okay I said keep it simply, but consider different backup solutions that would give you an extra layer of protection and giving you the biggest strengths from each.
- Application Backup - I touched on these last week but many applications and operating systems have additional backup/roll back solutions such as Offline Mode, System State, Version Control, Virtualisation and Shadow Copying.
- Not Just Data - Its very easy to over look operating systems, software, drivers, hardware and applications, just concentrating on company data.
- Again keep it simple! - They say, the less moving parts, the less likely it will go wrong. Same applies to backup solutions.
- Keep a Log! - If you’ve got lots of backups in lots of different places - a log can quickly help you find the right backup for the job. Let’s face it when you need to recover from a backup chances are you need to do it quickly!
- Copy me, Copy you - Can’t afford an online service? Agree to store your friends backup on your computer and their’s on yours.
- Get a memory stick - They cost peanuts these days and can store huge amounts of information, plus they are very quick too and often don’t need special software to make them work. Which goes back to keeping it simple.
- Get everyone involved - Backups shouldn’t be the domain of a single person (unfortunately though often they are!). Get as many people involved so they understand the importance of backing up data. Especially important at home with all those pictures, and music.
- Do It Now! Don’t leave it till tomorrow - if you have data that you just can’t live without - copy it somewhere safe - don’t leave it until tomorrow.