10 Things You Need to Know to Better Manage Your Backup Environment Part 1: Backup and Recovery

Whether you run a small business or a multi-million dollar corporation, the functionality of your organization depends on the creation and management of electronic information or data. Database corruption, hardware failures, and natural disasters are just a few of the situations that threaten your company’s data on a regular basis. There is only one thing that stands in the way between your business and catastrophic data loss – a secure and reliable backup infrastructure.

Managing a secure and reliable backup infrastructure involves preparing you and your staff for a crisis, just as much as it involves protecting large amounts of data. It takes time to create and implement a backup and recovery plan. You will need to determine what data needs to be backed up, how often the data should be backed up, and more.

We have collected ten crucial things you need to know better manage the backup environment for your business. The first part of this blog will cover the 5 basic backup and recovery practices that apply to any type of backup environment or business:  

1) When it comes to backing up your data you should always know what files you absolutely can’t afford to lose. The most important files to back up are the files that frequently change. You should also backup files that contain specific user information such as user name and passwords for important accounts. By ranking the importance of your data and eliminating the unnecessary data from your back up efforts, you can save a considerable amount of storage space.

2) In order to maintain an effective backup environment, all backup tasks should be documented and performed on schedule. Your data backup schedule should depend on how often the data changes and how important the data file is to your company. For the files that are modified several times a day, you should conduct daily backups.  All other files, those that do not require daily modifications such as system files or software files, should be backed up on a weekly basis. 

3) Company compliance is not only something to consider during the development stages of your backup and recovery plan, it is something that should be verified throughout the entire execution process. Your backup and recovery plan will evolve as your business and storage needs grow, so it is important to review the company’s updated list of privacy, security, and data retention regulations any time the plan is modified. Create a document or outline of your backup and recovery plan, and use it to conduct regular audits to ensure your backup environment is compliant with company policy. 

4) Maintaining a reliable and efficient backup environment is not just the responsibility of your company’s IT department, but each and every staff member. Ensure that all staff members have access to proper training. Review even the simplest tasks such as logging on and off workstations, and using email safely. Company-wide training will reduce risk for human errors that cause loss of data and promote good backup habits. Backup and recovery training should be conducted by your company’s IT department or vendor whenever a new backup system is implemented. 

5) Periodically testing your data recovery strategy is the best way to ensure that you and your staff are prepared when disaster strikes. Not only will data recovery testing identify issues or changes in your backup environment, but it will allow your staff to become familiar with the backup and recovery plan in a non-crisis setting.  In the event of a disaster, you also want confirm that everyone is familiar with the recovery process so that your data can be restored as quickly as possible. Recovery testing should be conducted at least twice a year, and any time a major infrastructure change occurs.  Following a disaster recovery test, take the information acquired to improve the plan. Then retest. 

The second part of this blog will focus on the data backup practices that apply to virtual backup appliances and software. To learn how your business can get the most with using a virtual method of backing up data, read: The 10 Things You Need to Know to Better Manage Your Backup Environment: Part 2.

Contact Dewpoint today to schedule your complimentary Backup & Recovery Health Check for your Symantec NetBackup environment.

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