Now more than ever we encounter clients who lose their data having been affected by disk failures or viruses. Unfortunately, data recovery plans are far too often overlooked until disaster has already happened. Here are some danger areas you should consider before disaster strikes so that you can plan accordingly, save time, and avoid the cost of lengthy data recovery processes. As always, your IT department or provider will be able to assist you further, and you should liaise with them to put the proper steps in place.
Grandfather-father-son backup is the recommended rotation scheme for financial information. There are three backup cycles: daily, weekly, and monthly.
The daily backups (7) are rotated on a daily basis using a FIFO system. This means that new or modified files are backed up onto the “oldest” media in the set, i.e. the media that contain the oldest and thus least useful previously backed up data. The weekly backups (5) are similarly rotated on a weekly basis, and the monthly backups (12) on a monthly basis. In addition, quarterly, half-yearly, and/or annual backups should be separately retained. In high-volume environments, and hourly backup can be added.
The most common mistake with backing up storage is to store the backup on your main server. This becomes a major problem if there is a catastrophic server failure such as a hard drive corruption, as you have not only lost access to your live data but to your backup as well. The best practice is to have offsite backups in addition to your onsite backups. This could be on a physical device such as external hard drives, or by transfer to an offsite location, such as a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) site like Dropbox.
Your IT department or provider should already be performing both backups, check in with them to make sure your data is being backed up properly.
Data backup is not the same as data recovery. The process to sufficiently restore your backup to the system can be long and painful, even if you have an easily accessible copy. We recommend working with your IT department/provider to put a plan in place to streamline your backup and restoration process, factoring in both onsite and offsite backups.
Viruses and hacks are a well-documented threat to the security of your data. Malicious emails requesting users to click through to an external website, or to download an attachment, may seem genuine. However, they can harbour malicious malware designed to infect your system, search for files to encrypt and locking your access. These viruses can also encrypt your backup data if the backup device is connected to your network, making the requirement for off-site backups even more critical. Remain vigilant and resist the urge to click on links, and review emails carefully before opening attachments.
Consider that your mobile devices, company tablets, and laptops could also contain sensitive company data, and that these devices regularly leave the security of your office. All data should be encrypted to prevent any potentially embarrassing or legislatively liable breaches.
After you have a reliable backup system in place it needs to be regularly tested to make sure it works properly and can be properly restored. Ask your IT staff/provider to restore your last backup into a separate environment, give access to key staff to test and verify that everything is working properly. This should occur on a regular basis to ensure your process is robust and reliable.
What do I backup in MYOB Exo, and how often should I make backups?
There are several parts to back up in MYOB Exo Business:
- The Database (best practice is to create an SQL Backup [.bak file])
The database should be backed up based on how far you would be comfortable re-entering lost information. If you cannot spend the time re-entering the past week’s data, considering backing up your database more regularly.
- The Custom Elements (any forms, reports, templates etc.)
Ideally any time a custom element is altered the custom files should be backed up. Your Clarity folder is an essential item to back up.
- Program Files
Program Files are typically provided by your Exo Business Partner; however, you should back up your own copies every time you upgrade the software. You will also need to know where the licence keys or registration codes for the software are kept.
- Exchange Server (or similar)
The Exchange Server manages your Microsoft Outlook. It is essential to have this backed up daily. Make sure that your Network Administrator has configured your email so that in the event your server is off-line, your emails get stored at your ISP and then cascade down once the server is restored.
These are a few simple considerations for your company’s data security and recovery plans. Work with your IT department/provider to move towards the best possible options for both your company and clients.