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Important information to review
Computer users fall into one of two categories:
1. those who have already experienced a significant data loss
2. and those who will
A backup of your data will enable you to get up and running again quickly in the event of database corruption, hardware failure, fire, theft or disaster.
The costs of data loss can be quite high not just in the time and money involved to re-enter information, but also customer dissatisfaction due to possible forgotten scheduled items whether workorders or preventive maintenance, as well as lost revenue.
Insurance can replace your computer but only a backup can replace your data. In a busy shop the value of the data can often exceed the value of all your computers combined; a backup is very cheap insurance.
The first step in developing a solid disaster recovery plan is to develop an idea of what constitutes an acceptable loss for your organization - the impact of losing data stored in your database.
Would you be able to recover from the loss of an hour's worth of data, a loss of 24 hours worth of data, a loss of a week of data, etc?
If you are running a small service shop with a couple of new or edited service workorders a day, re-entering that data from paper printout for any data loss in the last 24 hours may be acceptable.
Whereas if you are a huge service company, managing 1000’s of new and edited service workorders a day, a loss of entered data of more than 60 minutes may be at most acceptable.
The second step is to consider the loss of access to the database itself.
What would be the result if your users were not able to access information for an extended period of time?
If you were running a small service shop with a couple of scheduled service workorders that you had already printed out dispatch reports for, a day’s loss of access may be acceptable.
Whereas if you were a huge service company, managing 1000’s of scheduled service workorders for that day, a loss of an hour may be acceptable.
Determining these acceptable levels will help you determine the type of backup you should provide for your data.
A small service company may invest in a tape drive with a backup performed ever night, and a 10 tape rotation
Whereas a large service company may invest in a retained 24 hourly snapshot, a nightly backup, a RAID system and a mirrored server.
If you have a question regarding the backup of your data, you want to have it answered before you need your backup. We do recommend highly that you contact your local computer support centre for available hardware and software options for your needs. Be sure to test your backup and restore on a regular basis.
Minimum backup recommendation
A snapshot of your database at a point in time is taken, and this snapshot is backed up (copied) onto a backup device. In the event of database loss, the snapshot is restored so it can be accessed and reintegrated into the database.
We recommend at minimum an automated daily tape backup using a standard 10 tape rotation system of a full snapshot of your database.
Incremental and differential backups are not recommended. We recommend full backups so that the complete database can be restored.
An automated backup ensures that you don’t forget to do a backup as it will run automatically every night. You only have to remember to change the tape.
A 10-tape rotation consists of 10 tapes labeled and used as follows: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday1, Friday2, Friday3, Month1, Month2, Month3.
You use each tape in sequence and rotate through the Friday and monthly tapes in order. With a 10-tape rotation you can restore from as recently as the night before or up to 3 months previously.
This is important because a tape can go bad and not be restorable or you could delete something critical and not notice it for some time or corruption could have occurred many days previous, but not be immediately noticeable.
Your backup software should be configured to compare the tape immediately after backup to the data on the hard drive and report the success or failure of each night’s backup. You should make a point of checking your backup log each morning to ensure it’s working properly.
Each day you must take the tape from the night before off site for protection in the event of a fire or theft. This is commonly overlooked. A tape left beside the computer is no backup at all.
Burning data to a CD is good protection but it must be done on a regular basis. You can only restore data from your most recent backup and if too much time goes by between backups it can mean a lot of manual re-entry.
Insurance can replace your computer but only a backup can replace your data. In a busy shop the value of the data can often exceed the value of all your computers combined and a tape backup is very cheap insurance.