Small Business Backup Server Checklist

Posted by Steven Vigeant on 12/20/12 9:15 AM

SMB backup server checklistCreating a plan to protect against data loss must be a top priority. Inability to access information stored on servers dramatically reduces productivity for as long as the issue persists. A plan for data recovery lets you get on with day-to-day business operations without worrying about lost work. You need to understand where important company data exists as part of your backup strategy checklist.  Information may be stored locally, to your server or in a cloud service. You as the business owner need to know where you may be vulnerable and then have a tested plan for recovery.

Here are some basic items to include on your disaster and recovery plan.

1. An Analysis of Workflow

In your business, how much work do your employees store on local hard drives? If a key employee had a hard drive crash, how much would it affect operations? Would you lose a day, a week, or more of work with the loss of a local machine? These issues happen, and it is crucial that you understand how work travels through your business. This helps you create the most effective strategies for protecting data and identifying vulnerabilities. Be sure your employees understand where there data needs to be stored to be backed up. Many end users think there computers are backed up.

2. Identify Important Information

You need to know which items need the most protection. Your entire systems may not need backup. Only the areas where work is performed are critical to operations, thus they require the redundancy of local, server and remote backup. Create a list detailing crucial data and examine their location.  Organizationally, work critical files should be organized for easy access, making them all accessible through a limited number of file locations. This information allows you to make decisions about frequency of backups and how much storage you will need.

3.  Create a Backup Schedule

Your BDR service can be very helpful with creating and adhering to a regular backup schedule. A backup schedule should be designed to minimize potential work loss. Archived files may only need a backup once a month, but transactional files often need data recovery availability on a daily basis. The more data you need to protect using BDR determines the cost; however, this is one area where pinching pennies could cost you your business. Back up and store your data to ensure smooth workflow.

4. Determine Storage Needs

Depending on your industry, you probably do no need to retain every backup ever created. If there are legal requirements for the storage requirements on data, those come first. Healthcare and financial companies deal with increasing strict regulations on data security. If there are no legal requirements, take a look at your most recent backups and what has changes from one to the other. Do you really need months-worth of daily backups? 

5. Building Backup and Data Recovery Infrastructure

To create a truly effective plan for data protection, you will need to incorporate both on and off site hardware and services. Onsite, make sure that auto save functions in applications routinely save updates for work in progress. Use agent software from your backup application to backup local machines that need protection. For your server, create a schedule that backs up changes regularly. Use built in technologies in Windows Servers to take snapshots thought the day. Your schedule should include backups of the server locally and backups to an external cloud provider. If tape or hard drive based engage a service that will pick up the new tapes and drop off the tapes or drives needed for round of backups. With this redundancy in place, you can be sure your data is reasonably protected. 

6. Test Test Test

All of this effort is for not if you don’t routinely test your backup system. You should have a plan to challenge your backup system. Periodically test restore some data and be sure you can use it. Be sure to consider testing your financial application data files once a year as well. Many managed backup solutions you can get through and MSP or IT Solution provider will include these test restores as part of the service. Be sure to ask about it.

Your backup server checklist is designed to give you a brief overview of what your company needs to ensure data integrity. Know what you need and how often it changes to create a backup and recovery strategy that protects core functions without dramatically expanding costs.


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Topics: IT Outsourcing, Small Business IT Support, BDR