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Vail business technology: Are your backups working?

Wade Johnson
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado –Let’s face it. Tape backups are not exciting, and typically we only think about our backups when problems arise.

But tape backups can be a safeguard for your business. We rely on information that is stored on computers, however, we cannot rely 100 percent on computers, or for that matter, people. Luckily, we can help protect information we create on computers by backing up. If you backup your files daily, you need the confidence that what was backed up can be restored.

A common scenario: One day, reality sets in. The boy-genius at the office, who never does anything wrong deletes the QuickBooks “company” file by mistake. This file contains all your financial information – payroll, invoices, quotes, etc. Right about now, deep inside, that panic feeling begins to kick in. You know what I’m talking about.



You announce to your office, in a very confident voice, that you will restore from the tape backup system. Then a thought passes your mind, “Wow, I don’t think we have ever tried to restore a single file off this system.” You make a call to your computer expert to get some help. Twenty minutes pass by, and you get the call.

“Do you have another tape?” This is not what you wanted to hear and is never a good sign. You find another tape and put that one in your tape drive. Ten minutes later you receive a call informing you that there is nothing on that tape either.



Things to do:

• View your backup log on a daily basis – you can also setup your backup software to e-mail you the log.

• Periodically, test restoring your most important files to be certain that you are backing up your files and that you can restore them. This needs to be done very carefully – you don’t want to replace a production file with an older version of this file from backup.



• As the years go by, you may add new programs to your systems. As you add programs to your systems, additional files may now need to be backed up. Are you backing up these files as well?

• Take your backups off-site. What if your business or the business next door has a fire? You want to make sure you have a recent backup of all your data and software off-site.

• Clean your tape drive. What’s that blinking amber light next to “clean” on the tape drive? If you have a tape drive and it has a “clean” indicator light, the tape drive will tell you when it needs cleaning. Many times, tape drives have an indicator light that prompts you to clean the drive.

• When media errors are written to your backup log, first clean your tape drive. If you always get a media error on a particular day, replace the tape that was in the drive.

• Make sure you have the correct backup strategy in place for your business.

Next time, I will write about choosing the right laptop computer.

Wade Johnson is the owner of Johnson Technologies. To learn more, go to http://www.jtvail.com. Wade can be reached at 970-376-1116 or wadej@jtvail.com.


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