Feature Article: Backup Stories to Tell in the Dark

October 2017    Tags: , , , , ,

There’s a chill in the air that suggests winter may not be too far off. You and some fellow coworkers head out on a camping trip for one last weekend before the weather turns cold. As dusk approaches, a campfire is built and you’re soon sitting around a crackling fire, watching the flames and shadows dance as the light quickly fades. As the night progresses, tradition demands that horror stories be told.

You all settle in and start telling stories that would chill any attorney’s blood – stories about losing data because of incomplete or failed backups. A shiver creeps up your spine before the horror even begins.

“This one guy interned at a firm that often had network trouble, but they hadn’t figured out the source. Unfortunately, they also didn’t create backups as often as they should. One day, the billing clerk was updating statements, and the network connection dropped before the update was finished. No backup had been created beforehand, and none existed for the last month. They had to restore to a month prior, reentering every fee, cost, and payment that had been lost…”

An owl hoots in a nearby tree, and you hear a coyote howling in the distance. You wrap your blanket around you more tightly as the next story begins.

“The first firm I worked at used incremental backups, which is usually fine, but their IT was new and wasn’t familiar enough with their setup. When they ended up having an issue and needed to restore, the initial full backup was missing, and all they had were the incremental backups. They tried to restore those, but it didn’t work and they repeatedly got errors. They ended up spending extra time and money to get back on track again…”

A log on the fire falls, throwing sparks into the air and making some of you jump and then laugh nervously. The next camper jumps right into their story.

“I knew an attorney at a firm that had a break-in over the weekend. Their server was stolen, as well as laptops and other equipment. They were unable to recover the stolen goods, and they didn’t have an offsite backup… They had to start over completely from scratch…”

You notice that there are no sounds around you. Everything has gone eerily quiet; not even the insects can be heard. It’s your turn to tell a story, and you glance at the other campers to find you’re not the only one who looks uneasy. You clear your throat and begin.

“I was once told about a friend of a friend who worked at a firm that was really conscientious about making regular backups. However, they eventually had an issue that made them restore, and they found out that there was something wrong with the backups – they didn’t work. They had never tested their backup system to make sure that they had viable backups to use if the time came. They lost a lot of data, even though they were making the backups when they should…”

You hear the snap of a branch in the woods, and a few seconds later another branch snaps. You all jump up as a figure comes for you out of the dark, only to see it’s the last member of your group. You forgot she was coming and that she’d be late. She grins at you knowingly and asks if she scared you.

You know that backups are important to your law firm, but it’s probably not something you think about every day, especially if you’ve never needed one or it worked the last time you needed it.

Here are some tips for reliable backups:

  • Make sure that you back up the software regularly.
  • Make sure that you and/or your IT are familiar and comfortable with how your backups are maintained and how to restore.
  • Make sure that you have a backup offsite in case of theft or disaster.
  • Make sure that you periodically test your backup system so that there are no surprises if you have to restore.
  • Make sure everyone exits the software nightly so the backup is made properly. Or consider upgrading to the Platinum edition so that backups can be made successfully even while users are in the software.

For more information on backing up and restoring the software, visit Knowledge Base Article R11524, “Backup/Restore Information Resources.”

You don’t have to be haunted by the fear of bad or missing backups; the veil between good and bad backups may be thin, but you are in control. Schedule a test of your backup system today for peace of mind.

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