Friday, February 25, 2005

Getting data backup religion

Regular readers may have noticed that I haven't posted to the Spectator in about a week. But I have an excuse: the complete failure of the hard drive on my main machine--a Dell laptop. Dell was superb in replacing the hard drive. But then I found that the CD drive was also defective, making it impossible to rebuild the operating system until I got a warranty exchange on the CD drive as well. Working through these problems, while trying to get my regular job done, didn't leave me a lot of time to post to the Spectator.

That's the bad news. The good news is that I've been doing regular weekly backups, and the most recent backup was only two days old. So I was able to recover the machine with very little loss of data.

In over twenty years personal computing, this is the first time I've ever lost a hard drive. But without that backup, the results would have been disastrous: loss of personal, corporate, and client information that would have been impossible to recover. I can't even begin to imagine what I would have done if I hadn't had a recent backup.

When I tell this story, I get nearly the same response from everyone: a resolution to start doing regular backups. One associate was actually burning CDs within 15 minutes of hearing my story.

I wonder whether companies, especially small companies, realize how much they are at risk for the loss of valuable company data that exists only on the hard drive of some key employee.

So, if you're not already doing so, why not put a regular backup routine on your weekly calendar? When you need to use it, you'll be glad you have it.

And, if you are a CIO or CFO, why not review your corporate policy regarding responsibility for backup and recovery of desktop and laptop data. Then, especially in the case of laptop computers, do a pop quiz on how many key employees are actually following the policy.

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