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Backup One Square or Back to Start? Strategies for Protecting Your Data.

July 25, 2011

By David Stout
Sage Advanced Tech Support Team

A computer system consists of a variety of components:

    • Hardware, which is composed of its own modular parts such and disk drives and power supplies
    • Application software such as Sage Medical Manager or Sage Intergy
    • Operating system such as Red Hat Linux or Microsoft Windows that provides the platform between the hardware and the application
    • Data, which is of course the reason to have the system in the first place

In the event of a system failure, all of these components are packaged, can be purchased and replaced with relative ease save one, the data. More accurately, your data because you created it, people in your organization entered or caused it to be entered into the system. If the system fails or is damaged in such a way that it cannot be retrieved, the one thing you can’t buy at any price from anywhere is your data that you’ve created over the life of the system.

But, you can protect your data by backing it up to a storage resource from where it can be retrieved. That resource can take a number of forms ranging from flash drives to a complete duplicate server depending on need, but for this discussion, we’ll be focusing on cartridge-based storage such as tape or removable drives.

A strategy for backups should include a cartridge for each day of the week that data is normally changed in the system, which is any day you enter or calculate data. You should rotate those cartridges daily throughout the week. This makes it unlikely that you would lose more than the data entered since the last backup at the end of the previous day and gives the added benefit of being able to go back through several days of backups in the event it may be helpful or necessary. Another pair of cartridges should be used for month end closings and rotated from month to month so you always have the last close available if needed. It’s a good idea to have a spare cartridge or two on hand in case one fails or one is needed for a support issue. That way it can be used and set aside without altering your cartridge schedule.

In addition, there should be some method of providing a report on the success or failure of creation and verification of those backups. For better security, consider where your backup cartridges are stored. Storing cartridges off-site from where the system is housed is the best protection from a fire or natural disaster. At the very least, a fireproof and watertight safe or other container should be used if they are stored at the same site as the server.

These measures will help you to be able to restore your precious data to a replacement disk drive or entire system in the event of a failure to reduce down time and greatly reduce the chances of having to hand-key your data back into the system.

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