Backup of data and files

As part of your disaster recovery planning, you should create regular, reliable backups of all your important data and files to allow recovery if needed. Don’t forget to include both local and externally hosted data.

The risk of losing some or all of your important data increases yearly even with the advances in hardware.

Internal Hard Drive

Typical causes of data loss

  • corruption of files and hard drives
  • theft or loss of device and data
  • viruses and ransomware
  • accidental file update/deletion
  • fire, flood etc
  • etc

Backup apps and services

Many applications are available to automated the entire process. These range from desktop PC’s with preloaded apps to apps that can image and restore entire servers.

Data is often held within a database.  The database should only be backed up using apps designed for the purpose  

External hard drives often provide backup software although these are often limited in features.

Dropbox, Google Drive, Onedrive offer File Syncing services
These can be used to sync files between multiple devices but are not designed for full backup and restore

Searching the internet will find many vendors and the following list gives some bullet points to help you research the options.

  • What you need to backup. Typical requirements are folders, disk partitions, databases, installed applications
  • Frequency of backup, number previous backups to retain and total backup size
  • Backup and restore files, logical drives and partition
  • Suitability for database backup
  • encryption and compression of backup files
  • availability and cost of offsite secure storage. Check if there is a maximum limit on cloud storage capacity? Backing up large amounts of data directly to cloud backup storage can be very timeconsuming
  • product cost, licensing and operating system support
  • automated backup with email notifications on completion/errors
  • responsiveness of vendors technical support
  • does the software cater for files already in use?
  • Is it possible to include/exclude specific folders, file extensions, etc
  • Is it possible to restore a single file at a point in time?
  • file synchronization capabilities
  • mobile app access
  • automatically delete the oldest backup to reduce the storage requirement

Actions Checklist

  • create and maintain a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. Review it regularly to ensure it is up to date
  • backup regularly and retain several copies of backup media some stored offsite in a secure location
  • schedule backup of all databases
  • verify scheduled backups complete successfully and also regularly verify that the backup media can be restored successfully.
  • ensure that any externally hosted data and files are included in the recovery plan and test the restoration process at regular intervals