For 3 years Michelle had worried about the office backup. Each day she would bring in the oldest off-site tape from home in a special case. She would swap it for the one that backed up last night, and then carefully label it with the date and place it back in the case and carry home that night. She slept well knowing her backup was done.
I was hired to take over the network maintenance, and the first thing I did was ask about the backup. She explained her process to me and I was impressed. Standing at the server I asked “What software do you use?” A quizzical look appeared on her face, and I knew there was trouble. Two minutes of checking revealed that there was NO backup software, and EVERY tape she ever changed, labeled and took home were completely blank. She turned grey.
Let me jump to my recommendation now: Proceed on the assumption you have NO backup until proven otherwise.
You probably have most of your data in one place – usually the ‘Server’. Backup the Server and you have everything right? Not usually. Often your Practice Management database has special backup needs. Users have terrible habits of saving documents to their Desktops or My Documents folders. 2D and 3D CBCT X-ray system save their data to the PC you use to run the machine unless you adjusted it otherwise. Applications like Invisalign, OrthoCAD and Geodigm save their downloaded data to the local PC by default.
So once you think you have it all backed up, you can’t trust the backups are working reliably. Too many times I have gone to use a backup only to find it’s corrupt or incomplete. The cure to this is to periodically test your backup by going through the process of actually restoring a few critical pieces of data each month. This tests the software, backup media, and that someone knows the steps for recovery. I’m not talking about using the ‘Verify’ function most backup software has built in, I am suggesting doing an actual restore of your data to an alternate location. I don’t usually restore all the data, but a few of the most important pieces (maybe your Practice Management database and Quickbooks data file).
Even with doing a test restore Monthly, what if the backup malfunctions the day after? You could be surprised with losing 29 days of data should a disaster strike.
Most modern backup software programs have the ability to email you a status update each day. They will tell you if they worked, were incomplete or failed. Regardless of what they tell you, it’s good information to have.
You should be worried about your backup. Without one, your Practice is at risk. Imagine what it would be like to lose all your data. Could you ever completely recover?
Assume you don’t have one and call your IT person now. I bet they find something that needs improved.