This can be disastrous for both business and home users.
The truth hits home with the equivalent force of being hit by a bullet at point blank range. You can literally see the colour drain away from the face of anyone facing this issue. Even if the data is relatively small, the prospect of rebuilding it is daunting. For some, the consequences are more severe. the Sunday Times reports the following sobering statistics:
80% of all companies suffering a computer system breakdown go out of business within 18 months, and a further 5% cease trading within 5 years.
Only recently a customer called for help after discovering that the hard disk drive had failed in the server machine running the network. This computer contained the full trading history of his business, going back many years. He did not have a single backup he could go to. He was not even able to access the programme disks.
Protection against life’s uncertainties
Insurance is available to protect us against life’s uncertainties. The greater the potential financial loss, the more likely we are to take out insurance. Here are a few examples of situations where insurance is compulsory or highly advisable:
- Life assurance
- Buildings and contents
- Employer’s liability
- Sickness and accident
- Loan repayments
Of course individual priorities will vary according to personal needs.
- Death is an absolute certainty. Failure to take out life assurance would be very short sighted indeed.
- If you own property you will not get a mortgage with a recognised lender unless you take out buildings insurance. You will also be taking a big risk if you do not cover the contents.
- If you own a motor vehicle, you are legally required to take out insurance if you intend driving it on the roads.
Protection against computer failure
If you use computers to store valuable data you should regard it as inevitable that one day, today or tomorrow, sooner or later, your system will encounter some sort of system that puts it at high risk. Failure to protect your data by the use of backups is like failing to take out life assurance. If (or when) the day of reckoning comes, you may wish that the ground would open and swallow you up.
It should be pointed out that the value of data should not be under estimated. Personal data on a home computer is just as valuable to a home user as data held by a business.
Imagine that you have spent weeks putting together a homework project, or years collecting data about your family history. What would your reaction be if you discover a problem that causes you to loose all of your work?
Failure to backup your data is to live under a false notion: ‘it will never happen to me.’
Types of backup:
- Tape streamers
- Raid controllers and Backup servers
- Compression software
- USB and High capacity drives
- Off site backups
Tips about backing up
Keep backup media in a safe place
There is no point going to the trouble of backing up if you leave the backup medium in the computer. If there is a fire, or your computer is stolen, what do you do then?
Use high standard quality backup media
Failure to do so is like making a copy on a scrap or screwed up piece of paper. Don’t be suprised if you can’t read it when it matters.
Backup everything you cannot afford to loose
Gamblers have a rule that you should only bet what you can afford to lose. Use the same rule for your data. If it is important to you, back it up.
Test the backup
We know of companies that night after night have backed up religiously but come the day of reckoning they discovered that the backup does not work. A backup cannot be guaranteed until it has been tested.
Never test a backup by restoring over live data
If there is a problem with a backup you will almost certainly corrupt live data if you restore it. Test backups by restoring to a different location, or better still, to a diffrent computer.
Have a backup Strategy
If you use tapes, do not use the same tape each time. If you do, you are destroying the previous backup. Have a number of sets of tapes, clearly labelled, that can be used in rotation. Keep a written record of the backups you are doing.
One copy is not a backup
Many people use USB drives as a backup. USB’s can fail, be lost or put into the wash in your pocket easily. One copy is not a backup!
If you ignore the need for backups there is a ‘last resort’ option avaliable. you can employ the services of a disaster recovery company. There are no guarantees that they will be able to recover your data, but one thing is certain – you are looking at a large bill that could have been avoided!
Im off to do my backups now.