You probably already appreciate the importance of protecting your data with a regular back-up. You may even already be backing up. The chances are however, you’ve got into a routine that is not efficient and not the safest way to be protecting your data. Here’s some mind-joggers to make sure you are backing up correctly.

Test your back up

It may sound common-sense but the majority of people back up their data and just assume it is there and all OK. In most cases it probably is but however hard you try backup is not a flawless process. Human error and ocassionally hardware glitches can mean back-ups are stored but not usable. The only way to check it is all intact is to operate a routine test restore to make sure your back-ups are being completed correctly – just make sure you do this before you have overwritten your last known good back-up!

Have a a disaster recover plan

Things go wrong when we least want them to, so the chances are disaster will probably strike when you are at your busiest, under stress or even on holiday, only adding to your stress. However, you can minimise the impact by being prepared. Know where your back-up archives are kept and how to restore them. It pays to have a written recovery process accessible to everybody in the company so you can react as smoothly as possble if things do go wrong. The best way is think about when a recovery might be necessary and work backwards from there.

Use the 10% rule

Too many people back up everything, yet not all data is of equal importance and not everything should be backed up. An analogy I recently read was that if your house were on fire you wouldn’t run back into the burning building to collect a run of the mill pen. You only need to deal with critical items and the same applies to your data. The 10% rule says that only 10 percent of your data is critical. So that meaans 90% isn’t as important as you once thought.

It’s worth sitting down and evaluating what data is in that 10%. What is mission critical? What data would be essential to minimise downtime? Your 10% plan should have all the data you need to get your business back in its feet immediately. That’s not to say don’t back the other 90% up, just make sure you back the 10% of critical information up first and as priority – it will also speed up any restores and minimise your downtime – and back the rest up separately.

SO what shoudl be in that 10%? Really only data that is constantly changing should be considered critical and those that ensure essential applications and systems can be operational. That’s the urgent bit for your business. If that works once restored you can then restore the other static, non-critical files.

Do you back-up? Do you adopt the rules above?