Data Backups

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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A regular schedule of data backups is critical to the health of any organization, no matter how small. Data, after all, is the lifeblood of an enterprise. One backup, however, is not enough. Disaster happens and only at unexpected moments. There are so many technologies nowadays, however, that it's easy to put off making a decision until someone has time to study and understand the alternatives.

This is not a good idea. There's no telling when a system will crash, a hard drive fail, a power surge blow a power-surge protector. (I seem to recall a bottle of 7-Up spilled onto a laptop computer keyboard and seven weeks worth of work sizzling into oblivion.) It's critical to develop IT strategies early on that will ensure data integrity, reliability, and above all continuity of business. This planning for a data backup system needs to take the organization's budget, staffing, and the technical expertise of that staff in mind.

The range of options for organization-level data backups run from offsite data replication systems to more traditional in-house tape backups. By and large, tape systems are the most affordable and the least complex. One factor that will drive decisions on data backups is how much data your organization needs to protect. The question isn't raw information, but enterprise-critical data.

Basic Types of Data Backups

The typical methodologies for backups are full, differential, and incremental. Full speaks for itself. All data from the designated areas is copied, period, end of story. Differential copies all data that has changed since the last full backup. Incremental is the most selective. It copies only data that has changed since the last backup, no matter what type.

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