One of the most critical components of every IT network is the ability to restore data.
Backups play a big part in business continuity. Whether it be an accidentally deleted file, a corrupted database, or even a full server crash,backups help remediate the potential of lost data. Our best practices for backups usually involve asking 3 different questions to see if backups are being performed correctly.
1.) What is being backed up?
Many times when performing network evaluation, we come across businesses who are not backing up critical data. Sometimes it is a result of changes to servers and the backup was not updated to insure that those new folders and files are being backed up. Other times, it is just poor planning or not following best practices for data retention. In any event, backups should be checked on a regular recurring basis to make sure that critical data is being backed up. When working on a new project or installing new mission critical software, we recommend that a backup check be done immediately after completion of the project to determine that the backups are still running properly.
2.) Where is the data being backup up to?
USB hard drive, tape or cartridge media, a network-attached storage (NAS) device or cloud backup service, there are many choices when determining where your data gets backed up to. Each backup storage solution has its Pros and Cons when determining what fits into a business. Sometimes a combination of the above devices can achieve a goal of having enough backup storage, have reliable restore capabilities, and retaining data for periods of time.
A standard rule for backups is what we call the “3-2-1” rule. This rule states that you must have:
3 copies of your data
2 of those copies must be backups (the other being the live data)
1 of those copies should be offsite
A good example of this rule is a company that has a shared folder with multiple files. That folder is backed up to a USB drive or a network attached storage. In addition to that backup, another backup is done to tape or to a cloud service for offsite storage.
3.) Can the data be restored?
A backup is only half the equation to preventing data loss. The other half is the ability to restore the data. In essence, what good is a backup if you cannot restore the data? Most modern backup software have a reporting function that will let you know if backups are being performed correctly. Test restores of data should also be performed on a routine basis to make sure that the media is recoverable. In some cases, disaster recovery of a server should be tested in the event of a worst case scenario.
As part of our managed service plan, EDC performs multiple steps to verify that data can be recovered. We perform routine checks on backup jobs, monitor backup jobs, and perform test restores of data on a routine basis. In addition to other best practices that we help implement, we help reduce the risk of data loss for your business and keep your business running as it should be.