Our previous post focused on the reasons for backing up. This post is a continuation in our backup series and focuses on the proper execution of a backup and recovery.
What are the steps to take to ensure a proper backup?

  1. Perform one full system backup and exclude your data files. This will be used to recover the computer when the hard drive crashes. Update this backup once a month. Perform a full backup each time. Keep at least two full backups in case you get hit with a virus, trojan horse, or some other baddie that isn’t detected until later.
  2. Schedule another job to backup only data. This job should run at least once per week. Daily backups are preferable. Enable the validation option at the end to ensure the backup was taken successfully.
  3. Use incremental backups to keep backup times down to a minimum. Consolidate backups after 5-10 incremental backups to avoid collecting too many incremental backups.
  4. Keep a copy of your backups off-site. The off-site backups are there to ensure continuity in case of a natural disaster (fire, flood, hurricane, etc).
  5. Prepare a boot disk. This boot disk will enable you to boot your computer and access your backups to perform a recovery. Acronis True Image 2010 includes this feature.

What are the steps to take to ensure a proper recovery?

  1. Boot your computer using the boot disk. If you do not have a boot disk then reinstall your operating system. Most manufacturers provide a “recovery” disk which will restore your computer to its original factory state. You can use this recovery disk to reinstall your operating system.
  2. Connect your backup medium to the computer.
  3. Restore the full system backup you created in Backup Step #1.
  4. Restore the data backup you created in Backup Step #2. If you used incremental backups then just choose the latest data backup and the software will figure out how to restore everything from all the incremental backups.

How does backing up help your business?
Remember, your hard disk will fail. It is only a matter of time. Backing up ensures that you are prepared for this event and can deal with it quickly and efficiently.
Another reason for performing backups is to protect against the human element. We all make mistakes and at some point you are going to modify or delete a file accidentally. With a backup you can correct this mistake by restoring individual files from your backup.
How can it hurt?
Backups contain an exact copy of all of your data. If were to fall into the wrong hands it could be disastrous. Secure your backups the same as you would secure your computer.
Do you or your business perform backups? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.