Backups: More Than Just the Data


When it comes to the topic of data backups, I have found that large enterprises and small and medium businesses alike are clear on the importance on this relatively mundane procedure.


Indeed, few organizations will even consider skimping on the requisite hardware or software to ensure that all crucial business-related data are properly backed up. For the rare exceptions, alternative solutions do exist for SMBs without the financial liquidity to make the necessary initial investments. I mentioned one such alternative in an earlier post, in which I wrote about backing up to the clouds.


Most organizations generally acquire their own backup hardware as part of their business requirements. This could come in the form of tape drives, or RAID arrays, as well as application software created for the sole purpose of performing data backups and restoration.


In such cases, application software used to perform data backup has advanced to the point where things are pretty much failsafe once they have been properly set up and configured. Of course, I certainly advocate periodic checks to ensure that backed-up data can be successfully restored as well.


The Software

One crucial aspect of data backups that SMBs tend to overlook is that backed-up data is rarely useful without the requisite server applications or application suites in which they are generated. This means that installation discs for these applications should be kept in a safe location. In instances where custom applications are developed in-house, the latest deployed version and their associated source code also should be included in the backup regime.


And yes, I can narrate at least one situation in which a new hire who was sent packing went ahead and formatted his terminal before leaving. Nothing wrong, except that this action also wiped the only repository of the source code used in a few in-house applications.


Where proprietary applications are concerned, some software vendors that serve SMBs unfortunately attempt to enforce some form of recurring annual licensing payment by refusing to provide any form of installation media. I will address some ways to deal with such parties in my next blog.


License Keys

Finally, it is also prudent to remember that software companies do close down, products reach the end of their life and support can be discontinued. Assuming that you have the installation discs, make sure that the relevant licensing keys or license files also are backed up.