- Published: Monday, 20 February 2012 15:43
- Written by Jeff Kingsbury-Smith
With computers becoming ever more reliable it’s tempting to think that a data disaster cannot happen. Regardless of the sophistication of you equipment it is essential to make backup copies of data and to remove those copies to a secure and remote location.
Too many people make backups and leave them close to or even in the machine containing the original data. This will not protect against fire, flood or theft! Friday last week a potential disaster faced one of our clients. Naming no names in order to spare blushes they have come close to losing all data by overlooking the importance of keeping reserve (backup) copies of their company data. The potential costs and disruption which would have resulted can only be guessed at.
The client concerned had invested correctly in the technology which under most circumstances would protect them. Nothing however can protect from a number of factors coming together!
A single backup tape was used to destruction by never being rotated as part of a backup set, after a years work the tape failed and the errors reported were not acted on. The server, of good specification contained mirrored hard drives, each could fail without risk of data loss. Unfortunately both damaged in the same instant by human error when tidying near to the server! Happily this particular story has a happy ending. Our hardware department reacted to the crisis by attending site within a couple of working hours, despite this being a Saturday and were able to resolve the situation by a combination of resourcefulness, taking spare drives to cannibalise for parts and good fortune in realising that a “knock” might get the thing spinning. Heaves of relief on all sides!
Catalyst design and install backup regimes, train in how to use them but ultimately cannot be there to ensure that they are being adhered to. Further if all data is lost Catalyst cannot magic a reserve copy and are thus potentially unable to help. Personally I don’t think any of us ever want to get that close to losing their entire company information, customers, transactions accounts and all. How many days work does this represent?
I once again appeal to everyone even people not using our software. For your own sake, please, please ensure that backup regimes are effective followed and please make sure you take them off the premesis, if you are in any doubt please contact us and arrange for a Softare or Hardware health visit to verify that all is well. That stomach churning instant in time when you realise you may have lost everything is not an experience I want anyone to go through.
Drying out disk drives
Stories of drying out disk drives on radiators after they have been soundly doused by the fire brigade or spending hours winding tape back into the cassette with a pencil by hand after they were used for sport by burglars. These things make for interesting after dinner anecdotes, they have both really happened. I have personally gone into burnt out buildings in the futile search for anything still reminiscent of a computer. We really will make every effort to recover information in obscure ways but we really would rather we never had to!