If I had a $1000 for each business that told me its data was safe, and then I found out that it was not, I would be able to buy a new house – Truly.
So why is it that your IT person says they have a backup and they can restore a file and it is all fine, and I am telling you here, it is not? It is because for those of you who use a Database e.g. MS SQL , MYSQL, Dataflex, Oracle etc. these are Multi User databases.
A multiuser database has a unique method of backing up. Most of these databases create a specific backup file e.g. a BAK file. These files are created even if someone has the database open and is using the data. Now here is where things become even more interesting. Some people have really Old versions of databases, and their Bak Files need to be restored in their own version of the database, which may only work on certain operating systems etc.
So how do you make sure you are safe?
Simply, ask your IT person to do a restore and give you access to your data as it was yesterday. Check that entries you have made this morning are not there, and that you can access, add and edit your data from yesterday. Once you have done this – you are then sure that your data is safe.
What if you don’t have time for this idea?
Well, you are running a bit of a risk, but give these instructions to your IT person, and ask them to tell you what invoice ABC which was entered yesterday is for. If they have the same information that you do, then you know the restoration was a success. If not, then do not consider that the restoration worked, and get someone involved that does know about this style of database backup to review and check your backups.
What else do you need to watch out for?
UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) are really necessary in Australia as we get such extreme heat, and regular power drop outs or interruptions. So if you don’t know when you purchased your UPS, or if it is over 2 years old, it is time to get a new UPS. They are no longer a huge investment, and frankly, if you don’t have laptops, you may want to have a couple of UPS’s so that you can keep your server and a terminal going during a power drop out. These should really be replaced every about 2 years.
What about how long you could be down if the server is lost?
Cloud backups are great – until you need to get going in a hurry. I know this personally and only too well. I really suggest you need a mix between local and cloud backup technology. If you can restore local data and get up and going quickly, then you are only updating the changes that have happened since the last backup, and that means that you are not going to take a week to get your data back. Getting data down from the cloud is generally faster than Up to the cloud, but even so, it could take days if you have a lot of data – and if that is the case, you can’t afford to wait days to get data back. So having a mix between the two is really necessary.
Remember – We only need a backup at the worst time. Never are backups used when everything is going well – it is only necessary – just when you don’t need it. So check that if you do need to use it – at least it will work.