Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Backup Security - And Why It's Important

Some people will tell you I'm a control freak when it comes to the subject of backing up my data... and they'd be right. I'd even get a twinge of pride hearing them say that. After all, it's *your* data and the importance of it cannot be stressed enough.

One of the things I try to do, both in my writing and in my speaking, is to share stories and questions I get from other folks working in the trenches just like you and I. Today I got an interesting and somewhat tragic one.

Today's email came from a doctor who was on vacation, but had admin staff in the office to process payments, call on outstanding insurance claims, schedule appointments, and basically do all the things that needed to be done/caught up on.

Because accounting was being done and appointments were being made, the doctor felt that it was a good idea to have the practice operating system backed up in order to make sure these changes would be preserved in the case of a catastrophic data loss.

The doctor put one trusted and long term employee in charge of the task. When the doctor came back from vacation the employee reported that a portable hard drive containing the backup had been lost. The employee thought, but wasn't sure, that it had accidentally wound up in the employee's
home garbage.

We can learn a couple of valuable lessons from this unfortunate experience. I'm always a big fan of trying to learn whenever a mistake is made. My main two points from this lesson are as follows:

1. Never delegate the mission critical task of backing up your office data unless you truly have no other choice. No one cares for your business or your data like the business owner. I know lots of doctors that delegate this mission critical task to a team member on a daily basis, but that goes against my whole philosophy of data management. You should always know where your backup is. If you cannot get to it, it cannot help you. In the case above, the doctor didn't have much choice, but I can fix the problem with point #2 below.

2. As part of your backup strategy, you should be using the ioSafe. This device can be left In your office, connected to your server and is heatproof and waterproof. This means that the backup can be done and the backup can be left in the office. Now I don't normally recommend this as the only backup when the doctor is In town and all is running normally but in this instance, it would have been acceptable. The backup could have been run by the team member or the doctor could have logged in remotely after hours and run it. Either way this would have kept the backup drive out of the hands of the employee who eventually somehow lost it in their trash.

Normally I consider the ioSafe as one more link in the data security chain that also includes portable USB hard drives among other things.

So please get an ioSafe and take your backup offsite with you. Get your data security plan on paper and follow it. Eventually you'll need that plan and you'll be glad you have it.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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