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Data Recovery and Backup

Establishing a Data Backup and Data Recovery Service Program

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Now that nearly every business relies on computer-based data for every critical business process, and threats to that data's security grow every day as new viruses are released, terrorism threats mount, and hacker attacks become more commonplace, there is absolutely no excuse that is acceptable for failing to have a data backup and data recovery strategy in place. If you own or manage a business then you are being fiscally irresponsible if you continue to ignore these threats. If you are responsible for managing a public company you might even be exposing your company to shareholder lawsuits for negligence if critical data is lost and revenues fall as a result.

Why companies fail to have data backup and data restore procedures in place

Probably the biggest reason that companies fail to institute proper data backup and data recovery strategies is lack of knowledge on how to institute them. While the process may seem complicated and confusing, it's really quite easy and can be readily systemized if you under stand the basic principles of data backup and data recovery. Let's take a look at the basic concepts so you can apply them to your own business situation.

Start with the Hardware

The first step is to decide which data backup and recovery hardware platform will work best for your situation. There are data backup and restore hardware systems that will create off-site backup libraries as well as more traditional on-site hardware platforms such as tape and CD/ROM media systems. Your budget and current computer infrastructure will help you to determine which method is best for you.

Traditional tape data backup and restore systems are the least expensive to acquire and the least complicated to use from a technology standpoint. Because tape-based systems are so widely used we'll try to stay focused on them as the primary point of this article.

You will not be able to select your data backup and recovery hardware until you have a good idea of how much data you will need to be able to store. Tape-based systems range from single drives to multiple drives which are also known as "jukebox" or "silo" systems. Of course, prices vary depending upon the data backup storage capacity.

Determining your data backup capacity requirements is not as simple as summing up the total disk storage across all of the computers in your organization. Using that method will usually result in your purchasing a system that is much larger than your data backup and recovery needs will require. That's because a lot of disk storage space is no doubt consumed with operating system and application software which can be reinstalled from the source disks that came with the software. What you really need to do is to calculate the amount of non-replaceable data that you are storing. This type of data consists of accounting and customer data, email, documents, and other business-critical files which cannot be easily recreated or restored in the event of a system failure.

The most accurate way to do this is to actually audit each hard drive on your system and calculate the amount of space that is being used for non-recreatable data storage.

Once you have determined that number, you'll be able to choose a data backup and data restore system that meets your requirements. Of course, you'll want to scale up the system size by about 50 to 75% to allow room for data storage growth.

If you are running a small or home office, with a hand full of PCs, you can probably get by with a system that will provide data backup storage for somewhere between 10GB and 100GB of data. If this sounds like you, then you can look at Digital Data Storage (DDS) tape data backup and data restore systems. DDS systems are inexpensive and reliable and will scale all the way up to jukebox platforms if required.

For the larger business, Digital Linear Tape (DLT tape) systems are in order. These units are more expensive than DDS systems but can hold a significant amount of data. DLT systems are also available in jukebox and silo versions.

Once you have the data backup hardware issue solved, it will be time to move on to the data backup and data restore software.

Data backup and restore software is an easier choice

There are a seemingly endless number of data backup and restore software programs available. All you need to do is read the specifications for each package and narrow your choices down to the ones that support the hardware that you've selected. The next step is to compare the features of each package as well as the price. It should be a relatively easy matter to end up with a software package that is affordable, compatible with your hardware, and meets your needs feature wise.

Setting up a Backup Cycle