Backup Rules

Move it

On-site backups are all but worthless in the event of physical disruptions or loss of access. The quicker the backup is transported off-site, the more usable - and accessible - it is likely to be when most needed.

Secure it

Protect the backups at least as well as the primary systems, from loss or disclosure as well as tampering. Store the backups, especially if magnetic media, in a conditioned environment.

Test it

There is no way to be certain backups are usable short of testing, by actually attempting to recover data and systems in a test or recovery environment. Most offsite storage sites are more than happy for you to inspect your data off-site. This way you can see for yourself exactly what is being backed up.

Segregate it

Enforce separation of access and authority between production and backup data. Ideally, no individual will have access to both.

Meet business needs

Instead of mechanically scheduling backup processing, tailor backups to the essential business processes, flows, priorities and timings. Involve end users in backup planning and remember that technology is not always the answer. Policy and procedure is an equally effective tool when combined with well maintained backups systems.

Be realistic

Match the technology to the organization‚s capabilities. Don‚t go overboard on technology you cannot effectively control.  Don’t purchase new technology simply because it is new. New is not always better.

Play it safe

It is doubtful anybody ever was fired for being too careful protecting critical company data, although certain types of data may need to be excluded. Define a company policy that defines, what, when and for how long data is to be backed up.

Leave out data where appropriate

In some cases, too much backup or excessively long retention can increase exposure from litigation - you may need to exclude or limit retention of e-mail, voicemail or other transient data.

Trust nobody

Build in controls and accountabilities to protect against sabotage or malfeasance. Ideally, invite internal audit or other IT professionals or risk management professionals to review and critique the backup process.

Keep it simple

Concentrate on protection, reliability and usability instead of getting caught up in sizzling technology. And - the most important rule – No backup process is going to work if you don't actually use it. The most sophisticated data backup system cannot implement or run itself unless someone takes the lead.

Correctly value your Backups

As yourself what value you would put on your data if it was no longer available. Some people believe their data is not worth that much and that they could easily get by if they need to without it. Therefore, we just don’t need the additional costs involved with offsite backups.  But when it comes to crunch time and the data is gone for ever. It is interesting to see that those some people have a new appreciation for the value of the missing data and the benefits of offsite backups.

Compliance requirements

It may be a requirement, depending on the industry your work in or sometimes the customers you provide goods and services too, or simple governmental requirements may dictate that you are to comply to an agreed standard of data managements and or backup requirements.

This could be a direct or implied requirement and may have some financial penalties. Consider for a moment what it could cost, if you were audited by the tax department and were unable produce the data when required.

You may be considering sale of your business or company and long term archiving will provide greater credibility and may greatly increase the asking price.

Hindsights Rule of Data Value

Data is 100 times more valuable after a major system crash than what you may think its is worth before a crash.  After is is gone, it's to late to re-evaluate your data's value. Place some value on it now before it is to late, take steps to ensure that your data is there when you need it. Don't let data loss be the reason why you closed down shop and moved to Queensland or even worse New South Whales.