Four Common Backup Mistakes

Few things that are done each day are as important as backing up critical data. Unfortunately, backups often aren't given much thought until they are needed. Over the years we have seen a number of mistakes that have been made regarding backups. Here are the four most common.

1. Not Doing Them. People might be surprised how often this happens and often times it's simply because someone forgot. Always make sure someone is responsible for performing the daily backups and make sure it is getting done. This has been made easier with services like Carbonite. Backups can also be scheduled on any PC within the administration section and set to run on a schedule that works best for your specific schedule.

2. Not Verifying That The Backup Works. Jump drives and external disk drives are reliable, but they should still be verified for a successful copy of the data. If a service like Carbonite is being used, then chances are that the backup worked. However, it's never a bad idea to take a minute and check for critical files. A little time is worth a large amount of insurance.

3. Not Taking The Backups Offsite. Years ago, one of our clients had been diligently backing up their data, but left the backups on the desk beside the computer. One night, the building burned along with EVERY backup of the company's data. The client lost their inventory files and accounting records. If you're backing up on site with an external device, then make sure to either take it off-site or place that copy into a fire/water proof container. Again, we encourage our clients to use a service like Carbonite since it can backup in "real time" and is off-site.

4. Not Having A Secondary Copy. People make mistakes. We've heard stories of operators accidentally deleting data instead of copying it. Having a secondary copy prevents major issues and an extra external drive is very cheap insurance. Always have more than one copy of your critical data.

How's your computer's environment?

Recently, I wrote about how to clean up your computer to keep it running smoothly. Something I didn't write about was that your computer's environment can also affect its performance. The goal is to keep the environment clean, cool, and at the proper height. Here are some of our tips for a better computing environment.

Tip One: Keeping the environment clean of dust and dirt will help keep the inside of the computer from getting coated in dirt. This will help the computer to run at an optimal temperature and preserve the life of the internal components.

Tip Two: Keeping the computer in a cool if not cold area can be helpful. Even when the room is clean, if the temperature is too hot, the computer could start to overheat.

Tip Three: The final tip is to keep the computer at the proper height. Since heat rises, having some "head room" above the computer will give the heat generated by the computer a place to go. However, this does not mean that the floor is the optimal location for the computer. The computer's optimal location would be on a shelf to avoid both heat build up and potential water or flooding issues. If possible, place an external fan near the computer to create even better circulation.

Obviously, the weather can not always be controlled and often the computer has to go in the hot warehouse because there is no other room. However, implementing some of these techniques can help to reduce the day to day wear and tear on your server, thus saving time and money!