I’ve written about backups a little before, though I can’t quite remember where I posted the information. It’s been a while.
I know a lot of places don’t have backups at all. Their data is protected by wishes and miracles. I don’t think people realize how lucky they are to never have a hard drive crash in the past decade. Generally you don’t see a lot of spinning media drives last more than about 5 years, though I have to say they seem to last longer when they are constantly spinning than when you turn them off and back on a lot. There are a lot of exceptions to this rule and as the superstition goes it doesn’t happen until someone says something about it.
A lot of places have good backups though and they take them off site, which is good. They really need to go to another geographical location though, not the boss’ house down the street. What gets missed a lot of times though is the idea of a ‘local backup’. This is just a copy of your data that sits on another disk or server somewhere in your location. These are enormously handy, not so much for redundancy but for recovering files people accidentally delete off of network shares. I hate to say this but Apple has a good thing with their Time Capsule device. If you are a Mac user it’s just retarded not to have one of these things as they can work as your wireless router too. It allows you to restore to a specific day in your backups so you can find previous versions of a file.
Of course Windows has this ability too but it’s rarely ever used and I think only came with Windows 7. If you have any of the Server versions of Windows past 2003 they give you software to do this as well. The normal windows backup utility does a good job of backing up your stuff and has the ability to work with different versions of files. There’s also some file system tweaks you can do to give you previous version backup locally. Now if there were just a good way to have a network share recycle bin to prevent this from happening in the first place.
So consider doing daily, local backups with software that does differential or incremental backups. You never know when someone needs a specific version of a file they saved last Thursday, but changed Friday and it’s now Tuesday. We personally like Acronis Backup and Restore. The restores from a network share are kind of slow. I think it took about 45 minutes to locate a 94k file this morning and about two minutes to pull it off the backup. I tend to think that had a lot more to do with the device I was pulling it off of than Acronis as everything else their software does is almost unbelievably fast.