Do we really need a data backup? Our computer/server has been running fine for years!

It’s sometimes rather difficult as an IT Services Provider to get across to a new Client that it’s imperative that they have a data backup in place that will be monitored daily and tested at regular intervals. Our advice to any Business large or small is always: if your Business can continue as normal without your data, then there’s not a great need to back it up. However if your Company relies on its data to function from day to day – YOU NEED A DAILY BACKUP plan in place!

The Clients that need no convincing whatsoever on the other hand are the ones that have lost some or all of their data in the past.

Some may ask “what is data?”
Data is all the information that you have on your server or computer. From a word document to a picture, from a spreadsheet to the whole Company email database, from your accounting software file to your contacts list, it’s all data and if you’re happy to lose it one day then you can do without backing it up!

According to statistics, 43% of Businesses that suffer a major data loss will never re-open – is that for you?

If you run a Small Business or Company then chances are that you have a server and computers and maybe laptops too, some don’t need a server and just use computers.

If for example you have a server which is running Small Business Server 2003, 2008 or 2011 then you have a few choices of data backup:

1) An image backup of the server created by the server’s own backup utility
Now this is a good option, it provides you with a complete server backup so in the event that your server is stolen, damaged by fire or the hardware completely fails you can restore the server to new hardware (a new server) from this “backup image”
Now although I said this was a good option, it is only a good option when it works! It is possible that your backup will run successfully every day and tell you that the backup is ok but when you come to restore it to a new server two years down the line, it could fail!

2) An image backup of the server created by a third party software Also a great option and many Businesses use this for their daily backup but once again it could fail when it comes to restoring the server if the server dies one day!

3) An image of a virtual server created by a third party software This in my opinion is a better option because it is backing up a virtual server which can be restored to just about any server hardware. With a virtual server installation, the server is actually installed on to a virtual server platform, so it doesn’t actually install directly on to the hardware. With the previous two backup options the server operating system is installed directly onto the physical server where as with a virtual installation, the virtual platform is installed onto the physical server and the server operating system is installed onto the virtual server platform.
When you restore a backed up physical server, you need to restore it to the same server or it will not restore successfully – unless you know an IT Guy that will spend lots of expensive hours making it restore!
If the backup fails, it will take at least one day to re-install Windows Small Business Server 2003 manually from disc and at least another day to install updates, patches and configure the system.
Restoring a backed up virtual image of Small Business Server 2008 to a completely different server with Microsoft Hyper-V (virtual platform) installed would take an hour or so!

There is one thing more important than making sure your backup has completed… Checking the backup will work by completely restoring it periodically to a test server – backups MUST be tested regularly. The first option above will take about a day to completely restore the server and make sure it’s operational, don’t forget that you’ll need an identical server to restore it to. The second option above will possibly take a little less time but once again you will need an identical server to what you currently have. Restoring and testing a backup from a virtual server will take an hour or two and it can be restored to any Hyper-V virtual server.

So with option 1 or 2 above, by the time a new server is sourced and delivered you could be back up and running within 1 week – this would horrify most business owners

With option 3 above we would usually have a stand by virtual server that we can loan you up and running in a few hours

Next question is “where do we keep the backups?”
Usually we would advise to keep the backup as far away from the server as possible so if there was a fire or theft one should survive! We can also offer a service where we take a backup off site at regular intervals… maybe at the same time as the restore tests?

Remote data backup to a data centre over the internet
We advise this as a MUST for all our Clients whether they have a daily image backup or not.
This remote data backup is usually run daily at close of business or as often as four times per working day. This remote backup usually includes your complete Company working data, email database, office documents, contacts and everything that you or your staff create. With this option, even if your whole building was zapped and destroyed – your data would be sitting safe in a data centre. Also with this option if you accidently deleted a file 3 weeks ago and just realised, we can easily restore just that file in a very short time.

All our remote backup services encrypt data before it travels across the internet ensuring confidentiality is not breached and details of types of encryption are available upon request.

If your Business does not have a server then just using a remote backup on each computer will probably work well for you but feel free to give a call if you would like some advice.

We can put a remote backup in place on your server or computer within a few hours and the cost is very small compared to losing your data. Give us a call today so find out how simple the protection of your data can be.