We ask people all the time, “do you have backups?” The answer 90% of the time is “Yes, we do backups.” Upon pressing further we usually find some substantial flaws in how users are protecting their data. Here is some advice on backups, and how to ensure when disaster strikes, your business and data won’t suffer. First the two most common types of backups we see. Disk based and File based.
File Based Backup
We quite often see file based backups as a backup strategy. File based backups are backups that simple copy files and folders to some other location so that in the even t the original location becomes unavailable, another copy exists. Applications such as Carbonite, Mozy and others are file level backups. These types of backups are good for situations where you can afford to be down for a while, or when just backing up photo’s and such. The biggest problem with file based backups is the recovery time. If your PC crashes and a restore is needed you will have to completely re install the operating system first before you can start dropping your data back on your PC. Applications will need to be re installed as well. Another burden of file based backups is that you must be 100% certain that you didn’t miss anything when choosing what to backup. If you are backing up manually, you have to remember that disasters won’t wait if you forgot to run your backup.
File based backups are usually inexpensive, and work great for file transfers to new systems but again the largest drawback is the amount of downtime and work necessary to recover from a disaster.
File Based Restore Process
- If a re-install is needed you will have to pop in the Windows CD and do a full install ( not to mention finding all your old CD’s and Keys for all your apps )
- re patch the system
- run any other updates
- install all your software
- and then finally copy your data back which could take quite a while if pulling the data from an online destination ( cloud )
Disk Based Backup
Disk based backups save an image of the entire disk. Absolutely everything. This is the best strategy for minimum downtime in the event of a disaster. Should your system fail, a disk based image can be laid on top of brand new hardware ( bare metal restore ) and your system is now exactly as it was pre disaster. One consideration is that disk based backups take up a lot more space than file based backups. Windows 7 has a built in backup application that can do file or disk based backups. Windows 7 backup can be pretty picky about where it restores, so be sure to test your images regularly to ensure they will work when you need them.
Disk based restore process
- Boot new hardware to restore CD
- Restore image to new hardware
We recommend disk based backups for all your important systems, however, you must be very vigilant to ensure your backups are not failing and routinely test your backups to ensure they will actually work when you need them most.
So whats the Recommended best Backup Solution?
Regular Disk based backups (every hr or more for critical systems with frequently changing data)
Automatic verification / notification of failures
Secure offsite storage
Monthly full test restores
Our recommended software for backups is StorageCraft.
Others include Acronis and Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery. We’ve found StorageCraft to be the easiest and most reliable.
Most businesses just want it to work, and want to know that they are protected. Idaho IT provides backup and disaster recovery as a service. Call us for details or give us a call if you are interested in backup software to do it yourself. We can provide expert advice and product discounts.