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Published 5 November 2013

Adrian Fowler

Adrian Fowler
Webmaster

Adrian

File Server Backups

Nearly 70% of SMB’s aren’t backing up their data – even though they think they are!

Businesses rely more on their IT systems than ever before and will only become more reliant in the future so it is vital to protect your business from data loss.

Typically an organisation would have a central file server where all employees store their data. Just because your files are stored on a file server it doesn’t mean it’s safe from data loss.

Full server backup
The server hardware could fail or your files could be deleted/overwritten. To protect your data against hardware failure it is important to perform regular backups of the server to external media such as tape/portable hard disk or over the network to a NAS /SAN.

If backing up to external media you should have at least one copy offsite at all times for disaster recovery.

For backups stored on a network device such as a NAS or SAN it is also important to keep a copy offsite, so you should either have the network storage in a different location to your file server or create an additional backup to external media.

Shadow Copies
If you have a Windows Server I would recommend you take advantage of the shadow copies feature. With shadow copies enabled on a drive a snapshot is taken of all its data on a specified schedule. The snapshot data is stored on the same partition so this does not protect your data from hardware failure. The convenient thing about shadow copies is that the user can restore their own files within Windows Explorer which saves time for the user and IT staff.

Backup Schedules and Retention
Plan your backups. It obviously depends on your business needs but as a minimum I would run a daily file server backup (out of business hours) and 2 shadow copy snapshots a day, the first just before the business day starts and one in the middle of business hours, preferably at lunchtime when there is less load on the server.

As well as planning when your backups run you need to consider how long you are going to keep your backup data for. This will again depend on your business needs and the amount of data you backup. I would recommend as a minimum to keep daily backups for a week, weekly backups for a month, monthly backups for a year and yearly backups for indefinite.

The combination of full server backups and shadows copies with a well-planned backup schedule is the key to protect your organisation against data loss.

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