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Regular Backups Keep Data Safe

A disaster recovery plan should always in a data backup strategy as a major part of it. Regularly backing up your files is of paramount importance. Typical backup strategies include tape backups, disk backups, or other services such as copying the data to a cloud server.

If you have more than one machine it is important that they are all included within the backup strategy. For networked computers software is often required to be installed on each machine added to the network. This procedure needs to be monitored regularly because a failure to back up the data from even one machine, could risk the loss of critical data should fail, requiring data recovery to be undertaken.

Complacency is a Risk

Complacency is part of human nature which means that once a system is shown to be operational, we can become lazy about doing regular checks to ensure it remains working correctly. The temptation is to sit back and relax, but computer and software errors are all too common, any of which could cause files not to be backed up following a change.

Data corruption, which could occur through an unreadable bad sector on a hard drive, or due to malware, could lead to an essential service for the operation of the backup not being started when required. The backup schedules should been regularly reviewed, as it is important to check each computer is operating correctly and sending all the required data to be backed up. At regularly intervals the data being backed up should tested, to ensure the files being stored are not missing or corrupt.

Tapes are Not Infallible

For long term storage tape data cartridges are considered the best media, although there are a number of reasons that a failure could occur. Serious hardware failures with the drive are the easiest to spot, as the backup software should report any errors, making it essential to regularly check the backup log files. Some hardware issues can however go unnoticed until data needs to be restored, by which time it may be too late.

Tape media is either moved rapidly across the tape head, or the tape head spins at high speed while in contact with the media. This means that over time as a tape is used, deterioration of the media will slowly occur. The backup of data can start to slow down, and later even lead to the loss of data when attempting to restore from the backup.

It is therefore essential for regular backup media rotation, in order to reduce the amount of wear and tear each data cartridge suffers. These tapes should preferably be sent off-site to keep a secure copy of the data, which serves as insurance against disasters such as fire or flood.

Typical Backup Mistakes

The most common mistake is not periodically checking that the data has been backed up correctly, whether to tape media or a cloud server. It is also easy to overlook the checks which ensure that the data from all networked computers is being sent correctly to the backup server, should have a dedicated machine.

It is all too common for tape backups to be left to junior or temporary personnel, often not properly instructed in all the correct procedures such as the correct tape rotation. It is common for new tapes to be sent each week, but an uninstructed employee has been known to place them in a cupboard, while continuing to use the old tapes.

This is why your procedures should be regularly assessed, and however good your disaster recovery plan, it should include data recovery services for any laptops, desktops, servers and tape backups which form your IT infrastructure. When the disaster recovery plan is setup, you should decide which data recovery company should be used, which will give ease of mind, as and when disaster strikes.

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