Backups Part II – by Lee Rychel
“No problem. I have my data backed up in the cloud. I’m good to go” . . .or are you? As we discussed in part one of this series, there are two kinds of backups available to clients on local servers:
- Local tapes
- Offsite cloud based backup routine (which could include a local IT company backing up your data, or a commercial cloud backup program available on the internet).
Both of these techniques can work. But be aware; in the case of interactive software such as RETAILvantage2.1, incremental backups are not an option. Restoring from pieces parts of the total collection of files will only lead to corrupted data. Only a full data backup will ensure you can restore everything to its original configuration, which is where the first challenge of the cloud comes into play.
Backing up huge amounts of data across an internet connection is time-consuming and gobbles up a ton of resources on both ends. Most cloud-based backup systems will take one full backup, then only create incremental backups to reduce this load going forward. Bottom line? This form of backup is not reliable when needing to restore entire sets of data
The next question is, of course, “are my files really being backed up? How do I know?” And the answer is test, test, test. Either with your IT team or with your backup provider, you need to perform periodic tests to ensure the files are both backed up successfully and restore-able should the need arise. As with local backups, the only way to really know if you are getting a good copy is to go through the restore sequence up to the point of actually copying the file, and making sure there is something to restore from.
This is also another issue that has come to our attention from clients using on-line backup resources: billing. Remember those pesky bills from the Yellow Pages? The ones we all so quickly learned to toss out as they were nothing more than scams built to take our money and provide no benefit? We all got so used to them showing up in our mailboxes that we started throwing the envelopes away without even opening them. Well, old habits die hard, and we’re now seeing the same thing happen with online backup billing; for whatever reason, the bills aren’t getting paid.
We have had clients who were very excited that they were about to survive a server crash – “we have all of our data all backed up in the cloud! Yup we do!” Except they didn’t. Somewhere along the way the bill didn’t get paid, the backup routine was shut down on the cloud provider’s end, and because the account was never paid – the data was deleted.
Be smart about backups and you will sleep well knowing you are safe against any calamity. The other option, of course, is moving your entire data management software to the cloud. Cloud-based services such as our own PROFIT OnDemand, incorporates not only the latest version of our software (we only maintain one version in the cloud) but also ensures your data is not only safely backed up on a regular basis, but backed up using the proper rules to make it easy to restore from one PC to another.
A properly managed cloud is constantly backing up, upgrading and improving hardware resources, all while you sleep soundly each and every night knowing your data is safe.
Have a great rest of 2016, and remember, our goal is to make retailers more profitable.