Let's face it, many times a company’s data backup strategies are inconsistent at best, and potentially dangerous at worst. Many times this is because system administrators are unfamiliar with (or simply fail to implement) data maintenance strategies, or because they focus on backing up the wrong data. Thankfully there are many industry-wide tactics we can rely on to help our customers help themselves. Here are 3 data backup and loss prevention strategies you should adhere to when helping customers back up data.
#1 - Protect backed up data
Most system administrators don’t worry about protecting data once it’s backed up. This is a huge mistake, because there’s always a risk of stored data becoming corrupt. Other potential issues can occur whenever snapshotting technology or third-party synchronization is employed. This is why implementing advanced backup strategies is so important for all business-critical data—no matter who you are. Any backup plan needs to include multiple BAK copies stored across a variety of locations—and system administrators should ensure backup data is checked regularly for consistency.
#2 - Know which data to back up
Knowing where to focus your time and energy (hopefully on the most critical data) is important as you back up data, whether for a client or for yourself. Here’s a list of a few important areas to look at when developing your backup strategy:
- Database files
- File stores
- Cache locations
Always document your maintenance strategy in detail, along with SQL configurations in case you need to restore service after an interruption.
#3 - Select a backup method
When it comes to choosing a backup strategy, it depends on whether you’re dealing with an active database or an inactive database. An active database is one that experiences moderate to heavy regular usage, including large volumes of inserts and updates. For active databases, the recommended backup configuration should be one of the following:
- Performing nightly full database backup
- Performing weekly full database backup
- Performing weekly full database backups with no log backups
Don’t let the name fool you: inactive databases also need to be maintained. Even if the data isn’t being used regularly it can still become corrupt. This can occur due to natural wear and tear on a disk or even disk head crashes. Another form of corruption is known as silent data corruption, and while it’s impossible to prevent, you can greatly reduce risk through these backup strategies for inactive databases:
- Perform DBCC CheckDB against business-critical databases
- Keep one week’s work of backups
- Run a file hash each night
- Ensure that no file hash has changed
Creating good data backup policies are a must to anyone looking to successfully protect and maintain a database. It’s also important to document and enforce any strategies you put into place to ensure consistency, and thus the integrity of the data in question.
For more information on how data backup and loss prevention strategies can help you ensure your customers data integrity, contact the experts at Ingram Micro.