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Backing up – remember TNO

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Tuesday January 29, 2008 )

With so many big name companies offering oodles of what appears to be reliable online storage for nix or next to nothing – be it for email, photos, software etc.; it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. 14,000 customers of a major ISP received a rude shock recently.

A software glitch during routine maintenance at Charter Communications caused 14,000 active email accounts to disappear into the ether, never to be returned. It seems that many of these people had been using their accounts as a defacto file storage facility.

Charter’s not the first this has happened to and certainly won’t be the last. Read the fine print of any ISP or host’s terms of service and you’ll find “no reponsibility taken” clauses in regards to data integrity. Why? Because stuff happens – no matter whether it’s the fly by night web host operating out of a garage or the ISP housed in world class multi-million dollar data centers.

I personally experienced one of the most respected names in dedicated web servers fry not one, but two server hard drives in quick succession through incompetence, one of which was a backup drive. They then totally screwed up the new box. That event became known as Black Friday within our team.

2 of us were awake for 40 hours during the crisis and the only thing that saved the day; and potentially the business – backups on another drive in another server.

Back your files up – as Fox Mulder was fond of saying; “Trust No-one” (TNO). While Charter offered their clients a $50 credit for the snafu, for some of those folks even a $50,000 credit will not even put a dent in what they lost.

Whether you are paying 5 cents a month for your service or 5,000 bucks; still trust no one. Keep a backup. Keep lots of them in case your last backup fails. Don’t just keep it on your computer, back up to removable media and if possible, keep the backup in another location.

Backing up can be a PITA, but imagine if you lose everything you have stored online or your computer – what impact would it have on your business .. and perhaps your life? Go on, stop reading this, turn off the rerun of “My Name is Earl”, grab that blank CD and back up your files right now. You’ll sleep better :)


Guide to backing up your web site


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