Offsite backups have been touted in the past few years as the answer to everyone’s bad habit of not doing backups. Once signed up for an online service it’s easy to ‘set it and forget it;’ but too many business owners don’t know what they are buying and end up paying a lot more than they should. They also end up shocked when they discover they weren’t backing up the right files or that they can’t restore the files as quickly as they had hoped.
If you want to make sure you don’t get burned by your online backup, avoid these 3 common mistakes:
Mistake #1: Not choosing an online backup service that offers a file versioning feature
In the old days of tape backups when a proper tape rotation was used, it would be possible to go back to a specific version of a file from different time periods. In other words it was possible to restore a spreadsheet you worked on last night and three weeks ago.
Most online backup services only back up the last version of a file; so make sure you choose one that features file versioning and configure it for 60-90 days of versioning on files that are frequently used.
Mistake #2: Backing up Only The Data
Depending on the size of the practice, only backing up the data can be a costly mistake in the event that a server becomes critically damaged, stolen, or the whole office is destroyed in a catastrophe. Should that happen, the practice may be without its server for several DAYS! It will take time to replace the server or main computer, reinstall the operating system, reinstall the applications, and then restore the data.
Modern backup systems should take a complete image of the server and copy that to a local backup server (see mistake #3 below), then take that data to a secure HIPPA-compliant data center. Should a practice experience a significant server outage or a disaster, the backup of the server or main computer can be turned into a “virtual” server within an hour or so and the staff can then tie into the virtualized server from the office, from their homes, or even from Starbucks and continue using the server as if nothing has happened.
Mistake #3: Not having a local backup
Online backup services are great as a daily backup and eliminate the headache of changing tapes, disks, etc. However, if you only have an online backup, it can take a few hours to a few days to fully download your data back onto your server. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have a current local backup using inexpensive hard disks or other mediums. Aside from being able to retrieve data a lot more quickly from your local backup, it can make the process of rebuilding an entire system a lot faster and less painful.
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