Organizations should implement steps to ensure end users assist IT staff in determining what information requires backing up and the location of that information on the organization's systems.
Proactive organizations don't just track successful or failed backup operations; forward-thinking backup practices require that organizations also regularly monitor and test backup sets to confirm that backups can recover failed systems if disaster does strike.
An effective policy should also specify where backup sets are physically stored. Further, a strong policy should include a mechanism, such as a checklist, to ensure the proper data from the correct locations is being backed up as the organization requires if corruption or disaster does occur.
To help protect against errors, a backup checklist should alert the IT team to data stores' anticipated size. For example, if the accounting department knows critical financial data exceeds 10 GB and the IT department as part of its monitoring processes notes only 2 GB of financial data is being backed up, a quick meeting can be scheduled to determine the location of the missing accounting data.
The importance of change control
Departments, users, and organizations also frequently update, upgrade, and change critical software packages; data storage often change as a result, introducing the risk that backup operations may miss backing up critical data in new locations. To help protect against such data vulnerabilities, an organization's data backup policy should include a process for tracking changes and ensuring end users report updates to the IT team.
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This form can be used to educate end users about their role in assisting technology professionals in safeguarding organization data. The policy also includes processes designed to ensure the IT team understands how often specific servers are backed up, where those servers' backups are stored, how long the backup sets are retained, and how users are to report software and application changes. In addition, the Data Backup Policy includes a time-saving checklist designed to assist end users and IT professionals in specifying and locating critical data that must regularly be backed up to protect the organization's information.
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.