On April 14th 1970, 3 men in a tiny spacecraft, 200,000 miles from earth, experienced their worst nightmare. A large bang followed by an oxygen leak. For the Apollo 13 crew it was a disaster that might have cost them their lives. It didn’t because they had a spare space craft, the Lunar Module, which would now not take them to the surface of the moon but would act as a life raft and bring them home.
If ever there was a story which illustrated the importance of having a backup system available in case unforeseen circumstances it is that of Apollo 13. If you are too young to remember it, watch the film.
How important is your data to your business? It may not be a matter of life or death, but the loss of important customer records could be the death of your business. Studies have shown that:
- 70% of small firms that experience a major data loss go out of business within a year.
- Of companies experiencing catastrophic data loss:
- 43% of companies never reopened
- 51% of companies closed within 2 years
Data which has been acquired over many years can’t be replaced. Your hardware and software can be replaced relatively easily, it’s a hassle and no-one wants and the pain of insurance claims and the admin associated with re-equipping, but the data cannot be replaced, especially if the source is long gone, so conventional insurance won’t work.
The IT industry then, from day one, has realised the importance of keeping data in two places. Just like having two space craft, if one is lost, then we have a problem, not a disaster. Of course keeping data in two places is not enough, what happens if something goes wrong with the second copy or something goes wrong as the data is restored.
There is something worse than not having data backed up. Really? Yes having a backup which is untested. It’s worse because you may be less careful with your computer, especially if it’s a laptop which you may leave in the car, after all nothing to worry about, if it’s stolen then you have a backup. If you had no backup for the laptop, then you might be more careful and take it with you.
Remember this rule: A backup which doesn’t work is worse than no backup at all.
We recommend that all systems which are backed up are tested by undertaking a ‘dummy run,’ where we pretend a file has been lost and then see if it can be restored from the back up. This can be done at a time when the business is not in a critical phase like end-of-year. The old adage is pertinent: “Fail to plan, plan to fail”.
Historically, hard disk drives were very expensive and before IBM invented the “Winchester Disk” (a hard disk which was completely enclosed), the slightest particle of dust or even cigarette smoke could cause a hard disk to fail. The solution was regular backups onto a safer medium and that medium was magnetic tape, and even todays large capacity Ultirum drives use magnetic tapes to store Terrabytes of data
Magnetic tape was used long before computers to store information, voice and even Morse code could be stored on a tape. The biggest danger facing magnetic tape was a magnet which could scramble the magnetic particles.
In the right hands and undertaken with care tape backups are a fundamental technique in IT.
It is no good backing up to tape and then leaving the tapes on the machine which has just been backed up. A fire, flood or theft will in all probability destroy the tape backup as surely as the machine from which it was made. Sherr Technologies recommend and can help you implement a good tape based back up policy, which will include, making multiple copies in rotation and storing at least some tapes off-site.
With the decreasing cost of hard disks and the availability of cheap bandwidth on the internet, Sherr Technologies offer a backup system which will supplement other methods of back up and it’s called, “Sherr Data Secure” or SDS.
SDS is an online backup system; files from your machine can be backed up overnight, to servers at our datacentres, so you can’t forget to do a backup, you can’t leave tapes or other media in the wrong place. SDS is managed and monitored by our team at Sherr Technologies and review backups as part of their daily meeting to help ensure nothing is missed
- Runs as required and makes use of unused internet bandwidth
- Is automatic and requires no routine user input
- Protects data by encryption to military specifications
- Can be configured to keep version history for as many days as required
SDS should be used as part of an integrated “Business Continuity” plan, it is one weapon in our armoury, which we use to keep your business running and give you peace of mind.