Computer Data Backups: Test Now or Cry Later

Written by Joshua Feinberg

Continued from page 1

Restoring a few hundred megabytes (MB) of data to a scratch directory and running a head-cleaning tape should take no more than 15 to 30 minutes.

When running a test restore job, always restorerepparttar data to an alternate server folder path, so as not to disruptrepparttar 136410 use of any shared folders.

Building a Computer System Backup and Restore Procedure Checklist In times of crisis,repparttar 136411 most crucial issue becomes how quickly you can getrepparttar 136412 data back onto your system, undamaged. So, as you build your computer data backup system, be sure to document your test procedures into handy checklists.

This documentation also can be great for cross-training and crucial for avoiding panic during an emergency. Be sure you have a hard copy of this documentation next to your system and stored off-site with your backup media.

Watchingrepparttar 136413 Log Files of Your Computer Data Backup System

In addition to running test restore jobs, you must inspect your computer data backup system log files daily. Whenrepparttar 136414 backup system is first installed, take time to get familiar withrepparttar 136415 way log files look when everything is working. This way, if something goes awry, you’ll be better prepared to pinpointrepparttar 136416 nature ofrepparttar 136417 problem immediately.

As network operating system (NOS) suites and backup software have become more sophisticated, it’s now possible to monitor backup system log files remotely and more proactively. In most cases,repparttar 136418 backup system log files are just plain text (.txt) files.

Many third-party tools and utilities, as well as those included with Microsoft BackOffice Small Business Server (SBS) and Microsoft BackOffice Server, can automatically e- mail or fax a backup system log file at a preconfigured time.

Automatically and Remotely Monitoring Tape Backup Log Files

Many computer consultants have their small business clients’ log files automatically e-mailed to them daily, sorepparttar 136419 consultants proactively can watch out for potential problems withrepparttar 136420 computer data backup system.

However, don’t think this proactive monitoring is limited to professional consultants. If your company has one or more branch offices you support from a centralized location, you also can use a similar method to monitor backup system health in remote locations.

For greater flexibility, you can set up an e-mail alias sorepparttar 136421 computer data backup system log file automatically is sent to you, your second-in-command and perhaps an external computer consultant... so you are all kept inrepparttar 136422 loop. Also, this way, monitoring continues even when you’re out ofrepparttar 136423 office or on vacation.

The Bottom Line

If your small business depends greatly on its computer systems, backing up your data is not optional... and it is not something that can be casually brushed torepparttar 136424 back burner.

Userepparttar 136425 computer data backup tips inrepparttar 136426 articles to help you become a more IT-aware small business owner. And remember, when it comes to computer data backups, "Test Now or Cry Later". The choice is yours.

Copyright MMI-MMV,, All Worldwide Rights Reserved.

Joshua Feinberg is a 15-year veteran computer consultant, an internationally recognized expert on small business computer consulting. He has appeared in dozens of business and IT trade publications including American Express OPEN Platinum Ventures, Entrepreneur, Inc, SCORE, Small Business Computing, and USA Today. To learn more about Joshua’s money-savings tips for small business PC support, visit his site at

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Continued from page 1

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