Taking a Step Back
Taking a Step Back4/16/2019
Your hard drive may crash. Thieves could steal your laptop at a café. You may realize on Friday that you desperately need the now-departed Wednesday version of an important document that you significantly altered on Thursday. At times like these, what do you do? How do you retrieve that file you’ve overwritten? How do you get the data from a laptop that’s been wiped and hocked at a local pawn shop?
The answer is backups. A simple process of backing up your important data, whether it be to an off-site cloud location, an on-site external hard drive, or any other method; backing up your data is key to good business practice. So what needs to be backed up? What data needs to be stored and preserved? How often should you backup?
You should backup your word processing files, spreadsheets, and similar documents every day. Any basic backup program can perform incremental backups in which the program copies only the files that have changed since the most recent previous backup. Good backup programs also perform versioning, that is, they keep several iterations of the same file on hand and enable you to choose which version to restore.
Not all backup systems or backup applications are able to reconstitute a computer system or complex configurations such as computer clusters, active directory servers, or a database server, by restoring only data from a backup, so finding the right backup provider and device is vital.
Since a backup system contains at least one copy of all data worth saving, the data storage requirements are considerable. Organizing this storage space and managing the backup process is a complicated undertaking, but a good data repository model can be used to provide structure. In the modern era of computing, there are many different types of data storage devices that are useful for making backups and there are also many different ways in which these devices can be arranged to provide geographic redundancy, data security, and portability.
Before data is sent to its storage location, it is selected, extracted, and manipulated. Many different techniques have been developed to optimize the backup procedure. These include optimizations for dealing with open files and live data sources as well as compression, encryption, and inline variable-length de-duplication, among others. Plenty of organizations and individuals work to define measurements and validation techniques and try to have confidence that the process is working as expected. It is also important to recognize the limitations and human factors involved in any backup scheme.
With any backup solution that you choose, be sure there is a way to test your data and make sure you can reconstitute it whenever you need it. Also, having multiple copies of your backup data stored on both short and long term media can be useful if all your measures to protect your organization fail to work properly.
You can backup almost anything these days from portable devices to large data center environments. Protect what is imperative for your business function on a daily basis. Don’t take anything for granted. After a data loss, many organizations find out they no longer have the information they need in order to conduct their business.