Business Owners : Audit Your Backups – What is your Data Backup Strategy for 2012?

You’re a smart business person and you know the value of backup.  You may even already be using an online backup service, because you understand the value of not only having a backup, but having it stored offsite.  The question for today is:

How Current is Your Strategy?

When you initially designed your backup strategy, you were probably asked to identify the important data that needed to be protected.  User directories, data folders for accounting software, email databases and the like.  What’s changed since then?  How have your users changed, what are their habits?

Application Data Backup

If you’ve upgraded any of your software, such as accounting or even email systems, it’s possible that the data is now being stored in another location.  The backup software, as smart as it is, isn’t aware that the most current financials are now being stored at c:\accounting 2011\data instead of c:\accounting 2010\data.  Go through your list of directories being backed up and review them on the network.  If you find a directory being backed up that hasn’t had new files for six months, make sure there’s not something you are missing.

Operating System Upgrades

If you’ve moved from Windows XP to Windows 7 like a lot of other users, your data is no longer being stored in the same location.  What used to be stored in ‘My Documents’ is now being stored under ‘Documents’.  Some backup software will be able to tell the difference while others will fail because the old target folder no longer exists.

Users Being Users

Are your users still following the same model?  As many times as you say ‘please store your files in this folder’, people change their habits.  The last thing you want is one of your high-end users losing data, even if it’s because they’re saving to the wrong location.

All in all, if you haven’t reviewed your backups recently, now is the time to do it.  Make sure what you are backing up is still needed, and no new critical data is being missed because it has either changed location or is functioning differently.  Start from scratch by identifying what needs to be backed up again, then go to your backup software and ensure the job is being done correctly.  This is something that needs to be done on a regular basis, so consider scheduling an audit of your backups regularly.  Data security requires good habits and accountability.

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