Sep 11, 2014 | Resources

Having a data backup plan is like having insurance of any kind.  Whether it be health, personal, or auto, data backup or insurance can not only save you in case of hardware or software failure but also unlike “real world” insurance it can actually repair all damage… like it never happened.

Getting there however is not so easy and having multiple backups in place will help reduce any chance of data loss if properly planned and executed.  So don’t assume that all your data is backed up how you need it, take action to ensure it is!

To begin it helps to think about the type of data you rely on for your business operations and how that data should and can be backed up.

Common data types include email, your website, business and office documents, tax papers, historical documents, photos…the list goes on. For this article, I’m going to focus on the area that involves us, your website.

Your website is made up of 3 types of data types:

1.  Email – If you use IMAP we’re storing your email on our web server.  POP users store mail on their computer/device.
2.  Files – The files that make up your website.  These include HTML/CSS/JS/PDF documents, images, and other supporting files.
3.  Databases – If you have WordPress, a shopping cart, or any other software you’ll also have a database that stores data such as orders, emails, pages, etc.

Our web hosting provider does a great job with regular weekly backups. The following is what they actually state in regards to regular backups:

“Full account backups, including all files and databases, are automatically processed once every seven days. Eligible accounts are those that are under 100,000 inodes and 20Gb. Separate database-only backups are run weekly as well, on a separate schedule, and are run for all databases regardless of the account’s eligibility.”

This is pretty good, and none of our clients exceed the eligibility limits.  However weekly might not cut it for your business if you update your website more frequently or your database is altered on a more frequent schedule.

Thankfully you can always access your emails, files, and databases via your hosting control panel where there are a variety of backup options.

1. Email – Email can be backed up by installing email software (Thunderbird Portable) that can download and archive copies of your email  Pro tip:  This can also be used to backup your Gmail.
2.  Files – Files can be downloaded and archived at any time using your hosting control panel.
3.  Databases – Databases can also be downloaded and archived using your hosting control panel.

Also worth noting is that full backups (email, files, databases) can be generated in your hosting control panel at any time.  This takes a snapshot of all your data and allows you to download a copy to your computer where it can be used to “restore” your website to its previous state.

Another tip to remember is that you don’t always want to overwrite your old backup with a new version.  You might not discover an error until weeks, or months later. You will want to take “snapshots” in time on a regular basis to ensure that you can restore in the short term and long term.

If you’re concerned about your backup plan, COLEwebdev can work with you to ensure you have the proper systems in place to minimize data loss.  Contact us today to get an overview of your website data setup, and the best plan to back it up.

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