Server is down. Hard drive crashed. Last backup 11 days old.

    What would you do? You come in Tuesday morning and your main file and print server is down.  You learn that the hard drive has failed.  You also learn that the last good backup was 11 days ago.

    Your staff person had been changing the tape each day, but failed to check the backup log.  Think this is a far fetched scenario?  Think again.  We have seen it several times.  What do you do now?  How long would it take you to recreate the last 11 days of work?  How long would it take you to resolve problems arising from the inaccurate recreation of that work?  What if it was not 11 days but rather three months?!

    You do not need to ever be in this situation.  It takes about 5 minutes to check the log, record two or three key statistics into a calendar and change the tape each day.  It has to be done consistently and so we recommend assigning the task to a staff person who is very detailed oriented and has tendencies toward being a perfectionist.  He or she does not need to have strong computer skills.  This person needs to be instructed to notify your network administrator or consultant immediately when something is not right and be charged with continuing to escalate the issue until it is resolved.

    Other good policies to have in place relating to protecting one of your most valuable assets is to ensure that at least once per week a tape is taken off-site.  We highly recommend use of a locking fire-proof or fire-resistant box to store tapes in on-site.  Tapes should be set up in a “monthly – weekly – daily” rotation so that you can go back in time to restore from if necessary.   A test restore should be done once per month.

We’ve been amazed at the lack of concern that management and owners in some companies have regarding backups.  We hope  you will learn from this article, and not from the school of hard knocks!   



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