Category Archives: Data Backup

How Often Should You Take Backups?

Backup files and data on internet with cloud storage technology that sync all online devices and computers with network connection, protection against loss, business person touch screen icon

We all get busy and backups is one of the last things on your mind, however its critical when disaster strikes

Backup recovery is something that every business should invest in. Not just because it’s a smart thing to do on every technical guide, but because disasters happen. Big disasters like floods and fire and ransomware along with little disasters like accidentally deleting a Client’s CRM entry. Even run of the mill software updates can corrupt all the data that your software supports. Backup recovery data makes sure that no matter what happens, you can roll back the clock a day, a week, or a month to the last time your data was complete.

But the functional question isn’t whether you should have backups, you should. The question is how often you should take those backups. What happens if your data is lost, and it’s been over a month of active project work and client data since your last backup? That’s an entire month of detailed work gone. On the other hand, you also don’t want to take backups of static assets so often that you fill your storage with identical archives.

So today, we’ve put together a quick rule-of-thumb guide on how often you should back up each type of your data.

Active Data – Continuous Version Control

The data you update every day should probably be backed up continuously. This is a special kind of backup known as version control, which not only takes ‘saves’ of your work but also tracks exactly when changes were made and who made them. Version control ensures that you can quickly and easily roll back any changes that don’t work, remove only the changes made by a specific person, restore versions that were completed minutes or hours ago if an ongoing project or client file is somehow damaged.

Continuous backups through version control give you the most fine-tuned ability to both edit things based on changes and to restore recent version after changes were made that did not ultimately pan out.

Ongoing Project Data – Twice a Day

Data that is updated as a result of an ongoing project may be more practical to uptdate once or twice a day. A database into which entries are added in chunks, for example, or an archive of paperwork for which only a few pages are added per day might be the type of data that you want backed up constantly, but not necessarily minute by minute.

Backups made once or twice a day ensure that your active files can always be restored to a very recent version, even if they are not the type of file that requires version control levels of detailed editing and constant tiny roll-backs.

Workstations and Hardware – Once a Week

Your workstations and hardware are often the hosts to a great deal of useful data, including the software and configurations that are loaded onto them. When you have a full backup of a device, you can reload it from a factory wipe or clone it onto a whole new device in a much shorter time than it would take to rebuild all the configurations, apps, and stored data files by hand. However, workstations and devices don’t change often or drastically enough to need to be backed up every single day.

Weekly is probably the most practical timeline for backing up devices, particularly if your team tends to store files locally and update their settings to streamline their work. A device backed up weekly can be quickly restored to it’s favored functioning state directly after a malware attack, update crash, or other general malfunctions that might require a restoration process.

Infrastructure and Settings – Once a Month

Finally, there are the big infrastructure backups. Your network and its configurations, for example, were not perfect for your business right out of the box. Your tech infrastructure and static company files were carefully built piece by piece and setting by setting until everything worked exactly the way it needs to for your business. It contains your tech stack, your network configurations, and all your security measures.

Backing your tech infrastructure and settings up monthly can ensure that even if you suffer a system-wide outage, physical disaster, or ransomware attack, you can bring the whole system back online. Even if you need all-new hardware to do it.

For more insights into smart IT management and data security, contact us today!

Disaster Recovery Preparation

Businessman shows concept hologram Recovery on his hand. Disaster recovery preparation concept

The key to disaster recovery is preparation for when it does occur.

Computer users come in many flavors, shapes, and backgrounds. Some merely use computers for simple tasks such as checking E-mail, news, weather, and various other data statistic feeds — these are all simple tasks that don’t require thought about computer maintenance or file/data backup. Other users have a more data-sensitive approach where storing files and various other types of data in a computer are a major factor in their day-to-day computer usage — this means that computer maintenance and data preservation take on a whole different sense of priority. Business owners and managers, for example, would not be able to continue operations after an event that causes data loss unless sound data-backup policies are in place — business continuity and uninterrupted profit should be the priority of businesses, therefore the following preparations and protocol should be part of a business’ IT policy.

Self-Service

There are options for self-servicing, although it’s recommended to obtain professional consulting when setting up any of the following options. There are options within computer operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh, and various other operating systems that provide for either manual or scheduled backups of computer files and data. Sometimes third-party programs are preferable if the native programs within the operating system do not fit the needs of the computer user. Whatever the case, granular control of the backup programs can be achieved through various settings. For example, a date and time can be set to run the backup program. Selection of specific folders, directories, and files can be set for backup. Retention settings can be set that determines how long certain files are kept in storage — this helps to manage storage space. Encryption options are also available for backed up files so that they cannot be read by unauthorized individuals. All of these settings can be set to run automatically — on a schedule — or they can be set and run manually.

Other kinds of self-service might include relatively easy methods such as “copying and pasting.”  This is a manual type of backup where the user will use the computer keyboard or mouse to copy specific files and/or folders over to an external drive such as a flash drive or external hard drive connected via USB ports. Archiving, retention, and encryption of the files lie in the discretion of the user.

Cloud storage is another form of self-service whereby computer users with an internet connection may subscribe to an internet backup service. Automatic or manual backup using these services are optional. Users may configure the service the same way as in computer operating systems expect that storage is on the internet provided by the backup services. Typically, internet backup service providers will allocate a small amount of free storage space to allow testing their platform. If the computer user likes the service and requires additional storage space, it can be purchased.

Outsourcing

As mentioned previously, self-servicing, especially within environments where data preservation is critical, should be done under the advisement of professionals who understand the twists and turns of backing up computer data. However, self-servicing can be extremely burdensome to companies because of the fact that running businesses is stressful enough without having to deal with the technical side of the computer equipment being used. The priority of a business is ideally production — whereby time is not wasted troubleshooting and dealing with the caveats that can come with backing up computer files and data. IT professionals know exactly how to set up and maintain computer backup programs and services, and properly store the data where it cannot be lost, damaged, or stolen. It’s generally recommended for businesses with a high emphasis on production to obtain the consistent services of professionals who thoroughly understand computer backup systems.

SystemsNet specializes in a wide variety of computer technologies and with many years of experience. Please contact us.

Is Your Backup Disaster Recover Plan Ready for the Worst?

Woman in a server room on phone preparing a backup disaster recovery plan

Today’s security breaches enforce the need for secure reliable backup strategies

In the modern world of cybercrime and digital business, the state of your company’s computers and servers is of vital importance. Should anything happen to your important files or critical servers, you would need to have them recovered and back online as quickly as possible. This is the purpose of a backup disaster recovery (BDR) plan. When something goes wrong, you need a backup to recover from the disaster.

However, not all BDR plans are made equally. Some are prepared only to recover specifically important files, some only backup the website and not the company files. Some are prepared to restore the systems of one department but not another. Each company and it’s IT team are responsible for ensuring that a recovery plan is in place for every possible eventuality. Because what you don’t plan for is always the most likely to be what trips you up.

Most businesses need not just one BDR plan, but may. In order to have a recovery method no matter what type of technical troubles or security breach cause a data disaster. So along these lines,  ask yourself:

Is Your Disaster Recovery Plan Prepared For….

Restoring Key Files and Databases Individually?

All too often, company data disasters don’t involve reinstalling the entire system, but rather restoring one or two pieces of critical data. A software update may corrupt only the files that software interacted with, or only those that were open during the update. A human error might delete or save over a critical customer file, or a database might be lost when a server malfunctions.

Is your disaster recovery plan prepared to restore just one or two pieces of data from the entire backup? With the ability to do this, you can spot-recover key files and databases without losing time to restoring an entire data system or server.

Restoring an Entire Workstation to Work-Readiness?

Malware and failed updates often only affect the computer where the problem occurred. Malware on a workstation is often best solved with a factory reset and reinstallation of the operating system and some unfortunate software updates may lead to similar solutions. And restoring a single workstation is one of the coolest things backup recovery is capable of doing, if set up correctly.

Consider every workstation configuration in your company. Each workstation is made up of an operating system, security settings, and installed software to make it work-ready for an employee. Is your disaster recovery plan ready to restore a new or reset computer fully to work-readiness for workstations in each department? It can be.

Restoring Your Entire Network from a Factory Reset?

Some malware, however, specializes in attacking the entire company network accessed from the first infected workstation. Ransomware is notorious for this tactic though it is not alone in using it. When this type of attack happens, often the best defense for a company is to completely reset the network so that no malware can lurk upon it, then rebuilt it from the ground up using a backup recovery method.

Is your BDR plan prepared to restore the entire network infrastructure with all the finicky little settings and security measures your admins have spent months or years perfecting? Working with recovery experts, even this is possible and can allow you to thumb your nose at even the most vicious hacking attacks by restoring quickly without much impact on the company’s workflow.

Backup disaster recovery is not just a way to ‘make saves’ and then restore them when something goes wrong. They are delicate, detailed plans that involve careful setup, curation, and implementation. But if done correctly, you gain an incredibly flexible and robust defense against even those hacks that can fully take out a computer or your entire business network. Contact us today to find out more about how your BDR plan could be improved to cover more bases and provide a greater flexibility of recovery options.

A Practical Approach to Disaster Recovery

DRP Disaster Recovery Plan written in a notebook

Disaster Recovery is a serious matter and will save your business when an event occurs.

Many computer users tend to resolve issues and glitches as they come. That works fine for some people and circumstances but for the more productivity-oriented environments such as businesses, there needs to be a plan to resolve issues as soon as they come. Otherwise, monetary loss looms. Businesses that heavily rely on computers should outsource the repair and maintenance of them to professionals — especially data preservation and restoration in the events of breakdowns. Disaster recovery typically involves restoring backed up data, but it also encompasses quick restoration of devices with the correct configuration so that business continuity is good with as little interruption as possible. Generally, the more time a computer or computer network is out of order, the more money that will be lost — as the old adage goes, “Time is money!” Some business managers and owners have a tendency to attempt to save money by outsourcing as little as possible to professionals. This can be an extremely stressful situation — businesses alone have caveats that can cause excessive stress, but to attempt to manage the repair, maintenance, and data backup on top of that can completely usurp the joy out of owning or operating a business, as well as risk unintentional damage to computer systems — unintentional damage can be caused by attempting repairs without sufficient knowledge — and that of consequences of the outcome. Disaster recovery in highly productive environments should be left to professionals and below there are a few points to keep in mind when starting or running a business that relies heavily on one or more computers.

Starting Up

Whether the business has been booming for a while or things are just getting started, keeping the office computer-repertoire as simple as possible is a cornerstone. Seeking purchasing decisions from well-informed IT professionals is recommended and will generally turn out based on the needs of the business. Purchasing appropriate hardware will make it easier to mitigate times of disaster such as when computers are stolen, fires break out, vandalism occurs, or computers breakdown. If a business has been going for a while, downgrading certain types of products could help disaster mitigation as well as save money, but these types of decisions should also be backed by educated personnel.

Smart Hiring Decisions

A search for quality professionals can be started on the internet. Criteria to measure the quality of a service provider might include the number of years in business, whether professionals are certified, reviews, and affordability. Quality criteria are not limited to what’s listed here, but they’re a good place to start. Disaster recovery is a critical type of service that should not be downplayed whereby cheap and easy service is retained by the business in need of it. Professional services that are cheap and relatively easy to retain might be better suited for quick-fixes, but not for disaster recovery — it’s a branch of IT that needs to be properly planned and not applied only when something bad happens — without a sound recovery plan, a business will eventually be “dead in the water.”

Testing It Out

Once a disaster recovery plan has been implemented, it should be monitored closely to see what should go and what should stay. Working closely with a disaster recovery service is key while carrying out day-to-day operations — anything unusual or not functioning as intended should be reported as soon as possible unless it’s monitored remotely by the disaster recovery service. With knowledgeable IT professionals working behind the scene, the prognosis of disaster is good.

SystemsNet is a multifaceted IT service provider with years of experience and expertise on staff qualified to carry out disaster recovery. Please contact us.