A carefully created and thorough data backup and recovery plan is crucial for anyone who wishes to secure their data in the event a problem arises. This is even more necessary if your company handles a large amount of sensitive data such as credit card information, transactions, and the personal information of your employees and customers. A backup plan is essentially an insurance plan for your data. As hardware and software are anything but perfect, situations arise where the information that is stored can be corrupted or even lost. If mission-critical or sensitive data is rendered useless, there needs to be a plan in place to be able to restore this information in a timely and cost-effective manner.
The first step to developing and implementing a backup and recovery plan is to decide what data needs to be protected and backed up, how often this data should be backed up, and what methods will be used to back up and restore the data, if possible. Next, you will need to decide what and how many pieces of equipment you will require to be able to properly backup all your information. This includes equipment such as optical drives, tape drives, and removable disk drives. Additionally, there should be an individual put in charge of this plan. This will ensure the constant updates and technical assistance that this plan requires are performed.
Backups should ideally be scheduled during off-peak hours, so there is a little hindrance to the network and equipment during normal company work hours. Regarding where to store data, it is recommended to do this off-site, so potential problems like natural disasters do not render the company useless.; this will increase the fault tolerance of the entire system. There are many techniques for backing up files, and they depend on the type of data that is being stored and how simple the recovery process is. Full/normal backups, backup all data regardless of the archive setting; however, all data will be then set to archive. In a copy backup, just like a normal backup, all data is backed up. Copy backups, however, do not alter the archive attribute on the files. Next, differential backups create copies of any files that have changed since the last normal backup. In incremental backups, files that have changed since the most recent normal or incremental backup are backed up. Finally, daily backups rely on the modification date of the files to determine if they should be backed up.
When it comes to which backup devices you should use, there are multiple important criteria to consider such as: Capacity- the amount of data that needs to be backed up, Reliability- the reliability of the hardware, Extensibility/Scalability, Speed- the speed at which the data can be backed up and restored, and most importantly to you, the Cost. Tape drives are the most widely used backup devices. They are quite inexpensive however suffer in reliability. DAT (Digital Audi Tape Drives) is a significantly better form of storing data as they offer higher speeds and reliability. However, they cost more than tape drives. Disk drives, my personal favorite, are the quickest way to backup and restore files, however, cost quite a bit. One can also use Cloud storage to back up your data. However, it should never be solely relied on.
Whichever method your company chooses to use to back up and store your data, it is crucial that you remember the following tips. Keeping track of your backups can be problematic, so proper documentation should be done to ensure the entire process, methods, and its goals are documented and kept secure. Also, this plan needs to be constantly tested to ensure that it works correctly and is being done when it needs to be. This includes both backing up your data as well as restoring it. By following these guidelines, creating and maintaining an effective data backup and recovery plan will be much simpler and significantly increase your company’s data integrity.