04 Oct 2018

All Backup Strategies Are Not the Same!

Backup is a common term tossed around these days.  However, backup is not what most businesses need.  Business Continuity is really the goal.  Think about it for a moment.  If you have a backup of all your data then that’s great, but it doesn’t actually get your network back up and running again.  Machine accounts, the network itself, network policy, programs loaded, etc. need to be kept intact.  A simple file and folder backup does not provide that.  Many hours are involved in putting things back together again when all you have are files and folders to work with.  The ideal solution is a full image backup.  If your IT provider is not doing full image backups then talk with them about it.  You could be facing significant downtime and grief otherwise.

A backup (even a full image backup) can be useless though if it fails.  Backups require careful and diligent monitoring to make sure they are working properly.  Not everyone gives backups the attention they deserve.  Below is a quick summary of how we handle backups here at ComTech.  Every effort is made to insure our backups are truly bulletproof.  There is a lot more involved than the “set it and forget it” approach we commonly see.  Here’s what happens when we handle backups for our clients.  The term BDR you see below refers to “Backup and Disaster Recovery” hardware which is a designated machine that captures backup images for the client.

 

  1. At a minimum, backups occur every hour during the workday.  Alternate schedules can be created for special needs.
  2. The BDR hardware is monitored 24/7 through two different monitoring portals.  If any problem is detected it is immediately corrected.
  3. The scheduled backups are monitored 24/7.  This portal also monitors the replications.  If any problems are detected they are immediately corrected.
  4. Twice a month, all BDR machines are manually inspected to make sure the monitoring systems and everything else is working correctly.  Any problems are corrected immediately.
  5. The daily backup chain is inspected hourly prior to each backup by the backup software using CRC checking.  An error will be raised in the monitoring portal if there is any corruption and the problem will be corrected immediately.
  6. Nightly another CRC check verifies the entire backup chain. Any error will be corrected by the next business day.
  7. Monthly, a compression occurs on the entire backup chain where another, more comprehensive, verification is performed on the entire image chain.
  8. If there are any suspicious events or errors, we manually mount the backup chain and test for errors.  If any problems are suspected then we start a new backup chain.

We obviously take our backups very seriously and babysit them like no one else.  Automation is great and so is monitoring but we do not leave it there.  Manual inspection as described above is big part of the process.  Backups are like your business insurance.  You want it solid so it is there when and if you need it.  No one wants to find out in the middle of a fire that their insurance is not up to par.  If you have any questions about your backups then please contact us for a free analysis of your current strategy.

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