Backup Follies


It’s not often that the message in this space repeats a column that appeared on our Web site, But there are special circumstances here. I should known better, as they say. After attending all sorts of disaster recovery seminars and writing about how much effort it takes to make sure data is secure.

But, heck, after the hard drive on the laptop crashed, there didn’t seem to be a lot of room for worry. ‘No, problem, our company has automated backup.”

Of course there was a problem. I don’t think I’m giving away any big secrets when I say that the automated backup at our company didn’t work.

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“You haven’t had a full backup since Jan. 11,” the tech support guy said. This was about the middle of February; meaning about a month’s work had vanished into the electronic ether. “You must have stopped the backup.”

“Not 28 days in a row, I didn’t.”

Calls to various acquaintances who are familiar with technology brought only “Tell me about it” and “Take a number.” Ironically, I was working on a story about data security.

Historically, I have done better, particularly at home where there were unrecoverable drive crashes on the first three computers we owned. That included getting up on Dec. 26 one year to have our new computer declare “Drive C not found.” While there was the anxiety of whether the backup data was safe—it was and there was no need for total anguish.

The good news is that there was a Jan. 11 backup, so that everything that was on the computer wasn’t lost. There were also key files that had been copied over to a network server.

But that last 28 days included all data that had been collected for this year’s VAR 100 selection. Information submitted by roughly 30 resellers was completely lost and they had to be contacted again. So what started out as a project in which we were ahead of the game, became one in which we were roughly on time.

Backup, disaster recovery, identity theft, data security, all of those things that the layman lumps under security just don’t get any easier. Data is floating around the atmosphere on Wi-Fi systems. It’s rolling around briefcases on disposal USB drives. And of course, there’s the usual array of hackers, thefts, mistakes and sheer stupidity looming in the average office that makes preventing the loss of information an effort that requires eternal vigilance.

There is no solution except there is no solution and keep assuming everything can be lost. So we mirror drives, create multiple copies, mail things to ourselves and print, print, print.

And so much for the paperless office.

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Editor Robert Scott also writes “Consulting Insights,” a free, twice-monthly electronic newsletter that addresses issues concerning the consulting and reselling market. It’s insight with an attitude. If you want to subscribe, put the following in your browser address line: You can also visit us at

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