Backups, backups and more backups

Why is it that when it comes to backup, most people just draw a blank? Although it can be a complex topic, surely it’s not useful to stick your head in the sand. But that seems to be the trend – until something happens and data is lost. Consider that you are responsible for your own data, no one else, not even your IT support staff.

Take the time to identify all the different types of data that you work with on a daily basis and create a backup regimen that will include all of this data. Schedule your backups for a time when all your applications are closed as most backup applications can not deal with data that is open and in use. Get into the habit of checking that the backups have run and that there were no errors.

Windows Workstations are difficult to backup as a user’s data is spread through a number of locations within the users’ profile profile directory. Make sure that you’ve found the correct location for each application that is required for backup. Backing up the whole profile directory is also not always possible for 2 reasons:

  1. certain files ( eg. ntuser.dat ) can not be backed up using most backup applications
  2. there may be data on your machine outside of your profile directory

Lastly, make sure that you can recover from your data by testing it thoroughly. A backup is only as good as the restore you can perform.