Backup of Computer Information Systems
Backups to your personal computer data and business computer data are of the utmost importance in today's society. Almost everything we have as data can be lost at anytime. It's crucial to understand the different backup types. Six main types of backups exist: Full, differential, incremental, selective, continuous data protection or CDP, and a reciprocal backup.
Full Hard drive backups
A full backup includes all files in the computer system. This backup takes the longest because it includes all the files on the computer system. Many companies only choose to do full backups at specified times such as monthly or weekly. Companies may also consider backing up computers when fewer people are on the system as the backup can tax a computer system's performance. Full backups usually require large amounts of storage space.
Differential vs Incremental Backups Uncovered
A differential backup has all the files since the full backup. While the storage space for a differential backup can be much lower than a full backup, this type of backup still requires storage space. Restoring data in a differential backup can be slower than a lesser backup such as an incremental backup.
An incremental backup stores data in increments or smaller groups. It usually includes data added at a certain time. For example, a full backup is done every first Monday of the month. Every weekday incremental backups are done for data added on the previous day. It seems to overlap with a differential backup. It doesn't take as much storage space to do an incremental backup as a full or differential backup.
A selective backup backs up certain select files such as operating system files or high priority files with sensitive data. It makes more sense to do this type of backup when backing up data that constantly changes like a customer database. A selective backup doesn't necessarily take as much space but can leave other important information unprotected if a full backup has not been done recently.
What is Continuous Data Protection?
Continuous Data Protection or CDP involves a computer system automatically making a backup every time specified information is changed on the computer system. It creates a restore point which the user or administrator backs up when needed. It usually involves some form of backup on another computer system such as a server system.
A reciprocal backup relationship involves using a third party to get backup copies in case of lost data. Examples of this type of relationship include online storage of data such as photographs and files. While much of this type of backup involves storing personal data, businesses have started using reciprocal backup to protect their data.
To implement these backup methods, most companies have in place a backup plan. Backup plans are the policies governing how, when and what data needs protection. Some of these policies include policies that govern how the backup policies affect the company. It would be wise that a company involves all the parties that would be involved in the backups including the IT departments and administrators of the computer information systems. Companies should give copies of the backup policies to any personnel involved in restoring the data.
Computer Backup: Location, Location, Location
When considering backups, location is important. Backups that occur only at one place are less secure. It's because a disaster such as a fire is likely to destroy the backup as well as the main data source. An alternative site can improve the odds that your information is safe.
Hot and Cold Computer Backup
A cold site is a site where both the backup and main copy of the data is stored. This is less safe than a hot site. A hot site is another site separate from where the main data is located.
A fail over is another computer that replaces the main computer when it fails for any reasons. It's like a backup of the computer system. Think of it as the backup quarterback of a football team. He's ready to step in if the quarterback should fail at his duties.
Computer Hard drive Backup Planning
Businesses should put considerable thought into a backup policy. Companies should document backup policies carefully and occasionally revise to compensate for any changes in the business. Policies should include types of backup methods, time lines of backups (i.e., when backups should occur) and possible recovery plans.
Computer Backup: What Data Should be Backed Up?
The first things that companies should back up are operating systems, crucial data to the company and personnel data. Companies should have lists of software including system software that are on the computers at their places of business. These lists help prioritize the data companies should back up.
Computer Backup: Are You Ready for a Disaster?
Many companies implement a disaster recovery plan into their business policies. This is an important step in protecting the data on their computer information systems. Disaster can be environmental such as storms, floods, fires or they can be a disaster such as information theft or virus attacks.
Disaster recovery is a plan to back up data, equipment and other important components of a computer information system and also physical properties such as buildings and company vehicles. In this report, though, we are discussing the computer information part of the disaster recovery plan.
Computer Backup: Components of a Disaster Recovery Plan
The main components of a disaster recovery plan include the hierarchy of personnel to call in case of emergencies, a complete inventory list of equipment, and a time line for recovery. This timeline should include possible short term solutions if the business can't continue it's production immediately. Companies should also continuously test the plan and complete a written documentation of the disaster recovery plan.
It's important to have the names and contact information of people who might be involved when disaster strikes. Many people are shocked when a disaster hits. It helps to know who to call in case of an emergency. In the disaster recovery plan, list all people who are involved and a chain of command. The chain of command should begin with the top person to call if such a disaster were to occur.
A complete inventory list is important. It helps to know the date purchased, model and serial numbers, manufacturer, location and all the other necessary information in case the equipment is lost in the disaster.
A time line that states when the business expects to be up and running after a specified disaster should be implemented into the recovery plan. This time line should have back up plans in case production is down for an extended period of time. For example, Company XYZ prints credit card statements and a fire occurs destroying the equipment that processes these statements. Questions may arise about how would these statements now get printed until the company can replace equipment.
Testing of the plan is crucial to keep people in the loop. Have mandatory meetings complete with possible scenarios that could happen in a disaster. Do this testing often to keep people aware of the potential of new disasters.
Written documentation should be available for any company employee. It also helps to revise occasionally and reread the policies to see what clarifications or changes can be made to make it a better policy.
Computer Backup: Emergencies
Emergencies happen even at places of business. Most businesses have an emergency plan in place for every major disaster that could occur. These include fires, floods, and theft or other major crime. Like a disaster recovery plan, these emergency plans require testing. For example, a company might test the fire escape plans to see how the procedures might be better carried out. These plans will vary according to the disaster with which they coincide. For example, policies regarding theft would differ from those regarding floods or fires.
Emergency plans should include contact information, reporting procedures, and backup plans regarding recovery time lines or even personnel loss.
Computer Backup: A Link Between Present and Past
Information of the past was mostly paper based such as books, parchments and scrolls. Emergencies of the past that involved disasters such floods and fire drew tremendous losses. That's because many such disasters completely destroyed information. Many of these books or paper-based sets of information were unique, rare or hard to reproduce.
Today's information systems make it easier and easier to backup that information. Information is being shared and stored at greater capacities. It's easier to make data fire proof, water proof, theft proof and so on.