I was in a seminar yesterday and my mind drifted to something I've been mulling for a long time with no anwers, but I am realizing more and more that it's really important to resolve - data backup.
I am eager to hear your thoughts on backing up in general. Please participate - there's no really wrong answers. I'll give points if you add value!
I made a list of some things that I think need to be asnwered to come up with the appropriate backup process for small businesses. I've dabbled with backing up to:
an internal drive in another PC in the building
a set of external drives, swapped off site
thought about web based online storage
Some of the things that make you need a backup:
Fire-small (2nd machine with backup is OK)
fire-whole building (2nd machine with backups is lost)
theft-server (2nd machine with backup is OK)
theft-big (2nd machine with backups is lost)
loss of access to building (flood) (2nd machine with backups is lost)
loss of access to building & offsite storage (regional flood / disaster)
loss of data en route to remote site (confidentiality) (how critical is it to encrypt your data)
Types of backups:
full everynight (easy restores but beats up the backup media with lots of reads / writes)
Full / incremental (less wear and tear on hardware, but harder to tell at a glance if data is up to date / need 2 sources for a complete restore)
Then for recovering data, how easy / hard / fast / slow is it to:
recover select files
full data restore
In a pinch, how easy will it be to:
ability to read backup media (if it's exterenal hard drive, that's easier than finding the same tape drive as was used to make the backup)
ability to access a version x months/years old (something the client has to decide - how likely will they need to go to a snapshot that is 1 year old / cost to tie up that media - tapes would be cheaper than an external hard drive)
ability to access x previous versions (how much space are you devoting to backups / how many versions will you keep)
archive x months / years old data (rather than backup 40 gigs of data each night, maybe archive data that is x years old to (tape / hard drive) and only backup the 2 gig of data that is < 1 year old????)
Native vs. proprietary files? (I love being able to look at the backup files directly in windows explorer that I xcopy'd to an external drive. I use beyond compare (scootersoftware.com) to see that the server and backup drive have the same files.
in a proprietary file, you really don't know it's an OK file till you do the restore. I have a bunch of acronis true image files that don't seem to want to open. could they all be corrupt?! it may be operator error, but 1 bit chaniging on a 20 gig backup file could corrupt the entire file, rather than just a word doc in a native format backup... yes, native would take more space (turn on the drive's compression), but more peace of mind?!