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How do I get started with a formal data backup procedure for my company?

Dave Ellis discusses how to get started with a backup procedure in your company in this expert response.

How do I get started with a data backup procedure for my company?
There are several ways your company can get started with a formal data backup procedure. For example, if you are a small office/home office (SOHO) business with only one system to back up, your requirements will be much different than a small- to medium-sized business (SMB) with 10 geographically dispersed locations with many systems to back up at each location.

The type of backup required will also have an effect on the data backup software selected. Take these things into consideration before you start making a formal data backup procedure for your company. For example, you may only have a single Windows Exchange Server and only want to backup your Outlook files. Perhaps you have Outlook and SQL Database files to backup. Do you need a single backup copy stored onsite, or will multiple copies be needed and stored off-site? Perhaps you need to backup the server and all of the desktops at your location, or a mixture of servers and desktops locally and at remote sites. Or, maybe you have a mixture of operating systems in your environment and will need software that runs on Windows Servers, Linux Servers, and on proprietary environments such as Hewlett Packard (HP) Co. Unix, IBM Corp. AIX, Oracle/Sun Microsystems Solaris, SGI Irix and more. A lot of research is required upfront in order to choose the correct data backup procedure for your company.

When selecting your data backup solution, consider issues such as growth, retention and compliance requirements. A successful small company can grow into a thriving enterprise, so your backup solution will need to grow with your company. Compliance with federally mandated retention laws will also affect the choices you make.

Are there examples, templates, or plans available anywhere online?

There are a lot of resources and websites on basic backup, and when researching, many vendors will provide you with their version of a data backup plan. Most data backup plans provided by vendors are specific to an operating system environment or their specific offerings. For example, Imation offers three data backup plans on its site. Also, if you do a Google search for data backup plans, results and tips from Dell Inc., EMC Corp., HP, IBM, Oracle/Sun, Symantec Corp. and more will pop up.

Finally, be sure to look at virtual tape library (VTL) offerings. There are many companies providing compliant backup and archive solutions based on non-tape VTLs and other removable media devices with shelf lives equal to or greater than tape.

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