Backups are an incredibly important aspect of a system administrator’s job. Without good backups and a well planned backup policy and processes it is a near certainty that sooner or later some critical data will be irretrievably lost. In fact it is a matter of when your data will be lost rather than if.
All companies today, regardless of how large or small run on their data. Consider the financial and business cost of losing all of the data you need to run your business. I daresay there is not a business today ranging from the smallest sole proprietorship to the largest global corporation that could survive the loss of all of its data, or even a large fraction of that data.
If your place of business burns down, is inundated by a tsunami, destroyed by a tornado or earthquake, how will your business survive? To assume that the data can be recovered from your hard drive is to assure failure. Your business records represent a huge asset to your company. To have them destroyed will also destroy your business.
Backups as Security
Your place of business can be rebuilt using insurance, but your data can never be rebuilt. It must be backed up and stored in a safe place. You need to back up your business’ data. There are no other options. Do it or lose it.
But just backing up to an external hard drive, USB thumb drive or Zip drive will not save your business. You need to make regular backups and keep the most recent copies at a remote location; that is not in the same building or even within a few miles of your business location, if at all possible.
A reasonable option for most small businesses is to make daily backups on removable media and take the latest copy home at night. The next morning, take an older backup back to the office. You should have several rotating copies of your backups. Even better would be to take the latest backup to the bank and place it in your safe deposit box, then return with the backup from the day before.
This section discusses backup plans and their existence within the context of a larger business continuity plan. It covers various options for local and remote backups as well as testing your backup plans.