Computer Data Backups - Test Now or Cry Later
If you're like most small business owners, your computer data backups are one of those
things that you rarely pay attention to. Computer data backups are kind of like flossing
your teeth and eating low-fat, high-fiber foods... everyone knows what they're supposed to
do... but how many REALLY do these things religiously?
Unfortunately when it comes to your computer data backups however, complacency can be
very dangerous. Of course, it's always a good idea to have a local computer service
company that you can rely on for advice on selecting and maintaining your computer data
backups. But, unless you're prepared to put a full-time PC support person on your
company's payroll, it's really important that you get some basic understanding of the
major issues with computer data backups.
So here's a compilation of some really crucial tips on computer data backups that I've
put together, after nearly 15 years of helping small businesses protect their valuable
computer data files.
Test your computer data backups regularly and monitor their log files.
To be effective, computer data backups must be highly automated to ensure that jobs are
launched consistently and correctly, but your computer data backup system also needs to be
watched over diligently to make sure it continues to function reliably.
Unfortunately, monitoring the computer data backup system generally isn't a priority
until something goes wrong. By then it's too late... . Like the article title says, "Test
Now or Cry Later!"
People have a strong tendency with a computer data backup system to set it and forget
it. Automation clearly has many benefits, but a totally hands-off approach can be very
dangerous if no one is overseeing your computer data backup process.
Test and Then Test Again: VERY Important with Computer Data Backup Systems
With any newly installed computer data backup system, don't assume everything works
correctly right out of the box. Even more important, don't take for granted that your
backup system will continue working indefinitely. You need periodically to restore some
folders and files from your backup media to validate that your computer data backup system
If your automated computer data backup routine is configured to include a verify run
with each backup job, testing a sample restore job monthly should be adequate. However, if
you have an extremely low tolerance for risk, you may want to simulate a sample restore
job once a week.
The Hazard of Moving Parts and Open Design with Computer Backup Systems
Why do you need to take these precautions if you're purchasing a reliable, business-class
computer data backup system to start with? Typically, a tape drive or other backup device
is one of the few components in a PC or server that still have moving parts.
As a result, it's more prone to mechanical failure. In addition, because a backup
device generally is open, as opposed to the sealed design of a hard drive, it's easy for
the inside of the computer data backup system device to attract a significant dust buildup
in a relatively short period of time.