07 Feb 2019

Should I backup my machine?

Should I backup my machine?

I get this question rather often and the answer depends on a few things.  Consider what the machine or laptop is primarily used for.  There are multiple reasons why you might want to backup a workstation or laptop:

  1. The machine contains data that for whatever reason is not being saved to a server and is considered valuable.  You want to be able to recover that data if a file gets deleted, a hard drive fails, etc.
  2. The machine is complicated or has special configurations that may be difficult to replicate.  For example:  if you only have one machine that runs your company payroll then you probably have special bank software on it.  If that machine died on payroll day it would be a challenge to get everything processed on time.  A full backup image allows that machine to be recovered quickly and that person get right back to work.  Another example is a design machine with expensive and complicated CAD software on it.  A hard drive failure could mean many hours of reloading software and trying to get the configurations just right.  A good backup can eliminate all that wasted time and lost productivity.
  3. A combination of choice 1 and 2.  If there is valuable data involved AND the machine is critical for any reason then that machine should be backed up for easy recovery.

Consider these simple things when deciding if a machine needs to be backed up or not.  If a machine doesn’t have critical data and the user can just jump over to another computer to get their work done then that machine may not be deemed as critical and may not require backup.  If any of the criteria above apply to a workstation then it should be considered for backup.  Workstation backup is inexpensive versus the potential downtime a failure could cause.  That small fee can save a lot of downtime and grief if a critical machine encounters a problem.  It’s a pretty sure bet that if a payroll machine is going to fail then it will do it ON payroll day and not afterwards.  Murphy has a way of choosing the worst times for you to realize a backup would have been a good idea.

If the machines also contain valuable information then sending it offsite each evening is also recommended.  Always plan for the worst case scenario (fire, theft, vandalism, etc.).  Having a local backup makes restores quick and easy since you don’t have to download large amounts of data.  Having another copy offsite helps protect you against physical threats inside your office as I just described.  You can never have too many backups!

If you have any questions about your backup strategy then please contact us.  We are happy to help evaluate what you have in place and make sure you are properly protected.  The threat of ransomware and other cyber attacks are very real.  Don’t wait to find out your strategy was not as bulletproof as you thought.

Today’s blog author is Mike Farlow, Chief Executive Officer at ComTech

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