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The importance of Data Backup and Protection

It's great when your computer can repair itself and the data back itself up and recover if damaged with no human intervention.

Who we kidding… even though computers are becoming more and more reliable. This can create a false sense of security.

Backups are really a necessity. If you fail to have a backup of your data, It could cost you your business.

Recent true news article- (05-03-2005) Iron Mountain's big meltdown: Firm loses tapes with 600,000 Social Security numbers
By Greg Gatlin
Tuesday, May 3, 2005 - Updated : 05:06 AM EST- Boston Herald

Boston-based Iron Mountain Inc. admitted yesterday that it lost backup computer tapes belonging to customer Time Warner Inc. - tapes that included Social Security numbers and sensitive information on 600,000 current and former Time Warner employees.      The news immediately triggered calls for Congress to pass tougher laws protecting personal data and private identities. It may also push more companies to encrypt information before storing it with third-party records management companies such as Iron Mountain.      ``It happens,'' Iron Mountain spokeswoman Melissa Burman said. ``We've got humans involved in the process.''       The company provides off-site storage for companies' computer backup tapes. Burman said an Iron Mountain driver picked up the tapes in New York City on a route that involved multiple stops.      ``At the end of the day we go through a scanning verification process,'' Burman said. ``It was at that point we recognized we were missing a small container of backup tapes.''       Burman said Iron Mountain believes the tapes were lost rather than stolen. Still, Time Warner brought in the U.S. Secret Service to investigate. Time Warner spokeswoman Kathy McKiernan said there's no indication the tapes have been misused, though ``we can't rule out foul play.''      The 40 backup tapes included the names and Social Security numbers of workers dating back to 1996, as well as dependents, beneficiaries and others, though not Time Warner customers.       Iron Mountain provides services to 40,000 companies, including 79 percent of the Fortune 500, Burman said, with an accuracy rate of 99.99 percent. It conducts 5 million transports annually, and has had four incidents of lost tapes this year.

When did you last perform a backup of your important folders and files?

Last week? Last month? Never? More often than not, the answer is “I don't recall... Or Tom took care of it… I think or did he…”

1. A data backup is emergency spare , not unlike a spare tire for your automobile. You don't think about it, until you need it and then, it's too late.

2. As people become more familiar and comfortable with using a computer, they store more important data on their computer. Generally, they don't keep a “hard copy” of this information. Digital cameras have lead to more people storing important photographs on their hard drive, as well. What about those programs that store important passwords and PIN numbers? Do you maintain a hard copy of that information, as well?

What do you typically need to backup? On your Desktop PC

• My Documents • Outlook 2003, Outlook express email and settings • Favorites • System State backup

• The My Documents folder most likely contains many of your important files. Most Windows programs, including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access save their data in My Documents folder. • Probable locations: • C:\Windows\Personal\ on Windows 95. • C:\My Documents\ on Windows 98, ME. • C:\Documents and Settings\ User Name \My Documents\ on Windows ME, 2000, XP.

• C:\Documents and Settings\ User Name \Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\ • Outlook is a Microsoft application that is integrated into Microsoft Office 97, 98, 2000, XP and 2003. • C:\Documents and Settings\ User Name \Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\ • C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\

Personal Folders ( .pst ) files. The most important Outlook files. Your personal folders .pst file contains all of your local Outlook folders, such as Calendar, Inbox, Tasks, Sent Items, Outbox, Deleted Items, and user-created folders. When running, Outlook usually keeps its .pst folders partially locked, so it is recommended to close Outlook prior to making a backup.

• Mail on Outlook Express is stored in .dbx files.

•..dbx files are found under C:\Documents and Settings\ \(“username”)\Local Settings\ApplicationData\Identities\{XXXXXXXX-XXXX-XXXX- XXXX-XXXXXXXXXXXX}\Microsoft\Outlook Express

What do you Back up on your Server?

• Users Home directories • Application Data • Important .doc, .xls, .mdb, .ppt files • E-mail directories

Types of backups:

Full backup | Incremental backups | Differential Backup |

Other types of Backups methods:

• Backing data to removable media, such as CD-R, RW, DVD-R, +R and DVD-RW, is now a popular way to backup data depending on the amount of data storage needed.

• Most CD-R can hold up to 650 MB of data and DVD-R can storage up to 4.7GB of data. In order to accommodate more data on this type of media, data backups can span across multiple disc.

• There are other devices such as USB external drives and memory sticks that are good only for transferring data or holding data temporary.

What's backup is best for you?

Data protection methods in typical business environments have been largely unchanged. Today, the primary method to protect servers from data loss is to back up server data to inexpensive removable media such as data tape cartridges. Disaster recovery plans consist primarily of manually transporting the removable media to an offsite storage facility. Drawbacks to a tape-based backup model are that tape can be unreliable and data restoration speed from tape can be slow. According to recently compiled market data, tape unreliability prevented 42% of tape customers from restoring their data from tape during the past year . Since the current data protection model is optimized for backup, not recovery, the recovery of individual application objects is often expensive, time consuming, and unreliable . A recovery operation, for example, requires manual intervention by IT personnel and may be an involved process. In addition, one reason for the unreliability and failure of tape backups is the high cost of testing and verifying that tape backups have actually occurred . As a result, it has become increasingly challenging for IT organizations to assure adequate data protection.

Exploding Storage Growth

Businesses everywhere are facing massive increases in the amount of digital information they need to store and retain. This data growth is being driven by multiple applications and uses. According to researchers at the University of California Berkeley, new stored information grew roughly 30% per year between 1999 and 2002. They estimate that five exabytes of new information were created in 2002, with 92% of this information being stored on magnetic media, most of it on hard drives. To put this number into perspective, if they were digitized with full formatting, the 17 million books in the Library of Congress would contain about 136 terabytes of information. Five exabytes of information is equivalent in size to the information contained in 37,000 new libraries the size of the Library of Congress book collections. According to leading storage analyst firm Enterprise Storage Group, corporations and government organizations are expected to grow their digital reference information (such as photographs, x-rays, and rich digital media) at a 76% compound annual growth rate through 2006. At the same time, structured data generated by business applications, such as database management systems and e-mail systems, is continuing to grow significantly. New government regulations and compliance requirements, such as the US Patriot Act and the California Security Breach Notification Law, have also significantly increased the amount of information that must be retained and the length of the retention periods. Driven by the relentless digitization of business documents and processes, data growth has been, and continues to be, exponential.

Shrinking Backup Window

Generally, tape backups are completed only once per day in the evening. However, the need to maintain global system availability 24 hours a day, every day has resulted in a shrinking data backup window. Although IT managers maintain that there is no good time for a backup, CEOs are asking for less exposure to potential data loss. They are demanding continuous backup, not just once-per-day backup. It is difficult for IT professionals to balance the need for more frequent backups against the shrinking data backup windows available to them. . .

Demand for Higher Service Level Agreements

Business executives understand that protecting digital information is not an optional line item—it is mission-critical for any competitive organization, regardless of size. The increased emphasis on security consciousness has raised the bar for disaster recovery and data protection requirements. CEOs and corporate executives are taking data protection more seriously and are requiring that their CIOs have a full disaster recovery plan in place. Many CIOs have been given mandated service level agreements that ensure that their companies lose as little data as possible and concurrently ensure that lost data can be recovered as quickly as possible. Any inability to access e-mail, corporate file shares, or other applications results in lost productivity, impacting the bottom line. Data protection strategies, now an absolute necessity, must be designed so that as little data as possible is lost and so that systems are restored and are back running as quickly as possible.


Demand for Lower IT Budgets

In today's tough economic climate, CEOs and other business executives are also focused on lowering their IT spending. In many organizations, the data storage budget consumes up to one-third of the total IT budget. Furthermore, a significant share of the IT storage budget is related to backup and recovery. According to the research firm IDC, more than 60% of the total cost of storage backup over a five- year period is related to labor costs. Because less than 50% of storage tasks are automated, storage is one of IT's most labor-intensive tasks. One of the few ways to reduce overall IT costs is to reduce the amount of manual labor and time required to perform a backup and recovery. Fast, easy and cost-effective data protection and recovery methods are crucial to lowering overall IT costs.

Most Important Have A Plan

Disaster recovery planning and implementation is the practice of ensuring that data is adequately protected and can be recovered in a timely manner after data loss occurs. Data loss can occur in any number of ways including human error, a computer virus, hardware or system failure, software corruption, theft, or a natural disaster.

Alternative Solutions to Protect your Data
• Offsite Data Protection Solutions

• Disk-Based Data Backup & Recovery Appliances

• Tape Device Storage Server • Redundancy Servers

• Storage area network file systems

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