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.
Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and even though my son forgot, and frankly I did not have a very good day I spent time considering what it is like being a mother and being employed in IT.
I have raised a son, for the majority of his school and high school as a single mother, working, employed and employing people in IT. I found that this industry was brilliant for a mum. In fact I cannot sing the praises enough of IT and specifically business programming for mums.
You may ask why, but the answer is simple.
If you are at all creative, intelligent, want a good income, and of course you need flexible time and hours then programming may just be the ticket. Good programmers are hard to find.
I would even be as bold as to say, that women make better programmers in my opinion than men. I will clarify this by stating, that in general Women are plodders they make a plan of attack and plod towards it. Men on the other hand are naturally hunters and they go full pelt and then stop. This is why most men only last 8 years as programmers. Those that last longer, you will find that in general they have a strong feminine side to their personality they are generally plodders. Those that leave programmer generally go into management, project management, consulting, teaching etc. However, women programmers get more experience, paid more and still choose their own times and work pressures.
As a woman I have been programming for 34 years. Admittedly I also manage other people. But it is programming I love. I feel great fulfillment when my code works and works well. I find that I get annoyed at my male colleagues when they do not do due diligence, or just pound through work, without seeing the end result.
The other type of better programmer is person that has not only excellence in empathy, but also in knowing what items are important / show stoppers and what are not. I have found some people just don’t understand this. Only today, I faced this miss understanding of the level of a problem. I think some programmers just do not connect to the real world.
So if you love computers, think programming is all about game creation, and you really just want money, but not feel like you are working. Studying to be a business programmer is wasting your time just stop.
I was interviewing for a job opening here in the last 3 weeks, and I was astounded by the quality and level of applicants. However for most applicants they will be looking for a long time. Either that or they will be offered help desk work, get annoyed at the pay and opportunities offered to them by IT and leave.
I did however find it interesting, how many people retrained into IT from other jobs, quite often when they found their other job too stressful. I consider IT stressful, especially when your code is supporting hundreds of lives and jobs. But this is a woman’s view point, and from what I have interpreted from my colleges (all males), they do not always consider the end use of the code.
So if you are seeking a career choice, and plan to have a family and home which you can give yourself time to be with your children when they are sick, or on sports days etc. Consider programming. It could be well worth your consideration.
Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.