Every so often, we get a call about a server failure, or virus infestation or ransomware that forces some (or all) our customer’s documents to be restored from backup.  It has happened more than once that we learn that not all of the data is not being backed up.  We hate feeling that follows the realization that some data has just been lost forever.   

What needs to be backed up? 

The most fundamental part of any backup plan is ensuring that you are backing up the correct data. Ideally, you’d backup the entire server.  This may not be possible based on the storage space available or your backup software. If so, make sure you backup your file shares and contact the vendor for each major software solution installed on that server to determine where the data and configuration settings are stored to ensure that they are backed up. 

For specific information on the location of the Net.DFM data and configuration please see this article on our support portal. 

How often should the backup run? 

The obvious answer to this question is to backup each night.  However, in some cases a nightly backup of all data won’t complete before the work day starts again.  In this case, you can do a full backup on the weekend and only backup the data that was added or changed since the last backup was run.  A full backup is the easiest to use when recovering from a complete disaster, but takes up more space on the backup device, and takes longer to backup.  Consult the documentation for your backup software for details on backup strategies. 

Where should the software backup to? 

15 Years ago everyone backed up to tape drives.  In many cases however, tape drives are not large enough to hold a full backup.  Tapes that are large enough are prohibitively expensive.  8-10 years ago external USB devices were the most common backup location for small to medium size businesses.  Today, we recommend using one of the several packages that uses a well known cloud provider (Amazon Web Services, Google, Microsoft, etc) as a storage location.   

Did it work? 

All good backup software will generate a report that gives you the results of the backup, the size of the backup and how long it took.  You should review this information frequently.  If one report varies greatly (duration or storage used), you should investigate further and not consider that backup successful.  As a side note, have the software send the backup reports to Net.DFM – that way you can easily view the report and not have the old reports lost in your email. 

Practice, Practice, Practice 

During an emergency, you do not want to find out that you don’t know how to restore the files you need.  You should periodically restore a file or two to test the backup and your procedures for restoring. 

This was a quick overview of the issues you should be thinking about in regard to your backup and is not intended to be a comprehensive look at this subject.  If you would like assistance with this topic, please contact Customer Services.  Please note that designing, testing or implementing backup solutions is not included in any of our service plans and will result in additional fees.