We were recently told by the IT person for an organization that had six weeks earlier lost all their data, that backing up was not a priority. Yes, they were having the same problem again. No, they did not have a good backup. They had needed to get up and running again and that took priority over getting a backup system in place. We were flabbergasted. They had just paid us to recover their database because they did not have a backup from which they could restore…yet backing up was not a priority.
On a regular basis, we are confronted by a customer organization that has a catastrophic event resulting in the loss of their entire SOS database including all of their practice management information…patient billing, clinical records, schedules. Some of the events have been a hurricane, a fire, or a crash of the computer causing irreversible corruption of the data. In the case where the customer has regularly been following our recommendations for data backup including verification and off-site storage, they merely retrieve their most recent backup, restore it to their computer in the appropriate folder, and pick up their work where they left off.
In all too many instances, that is not what happens. In some cases, the customer has not been creating backups of their data at all! In many others, they have been writing over the same single copy of their backup over and over again. If their hard drive fails in a progressive manner becoming flakier as it goes, their database becomes corrupted in the same gradual manner and their lone backup becomes as unusable as their corrupted database. Sometimes, they make their backup onto a partition of the drive on which their production database resides. When the main one goes, so does the backup. And quite often, they make backups regularly, one tape for each day, but they never verify that the backup can be restored.
We have created documents, newsletter articles, email rants and verbal tirades trying to communicate the absolute necessity of having excellent backup procedures that are followed without fail and that produce reliable, verifiable backups of all necessary data. This information is certainly effectively used by many of our customers, but we do not seem to be successful at reaching others.
We need help understanding how folks think about data backup so we can more effectively assure that it occurs. How does an organization justify not making and verifying a backup of their mission critical data? What are the “reasons” that get used? If your company does not do data backup, what are the obstacles to doing so and how do you rationalize not removing the roadblocks? What can we and other software companies do to assure that backup happens? What have you done to assure that data backup works effectively in your organization? If you “got religion” about backup at some point, what triggered the change?
Talk to us, please. We need your assistance here.