Avert disaster: backup your website

Celebrate Winter at Wynyard

Nathan Platt

Nathan Platt of Teesside’s Solidblueliquid on why it’s vital to backup your website…

Let’s talk about your website. It’s the lifeblood of your digital business, your online business card. It’s becoming increasingly important to everyone these days, so are you looking after it? Ask yourself this: When did you last back it up?

What would you do if your website went down? What’s your backup plan if there is downtime? We all want to believe that nothing will ever happen but if you work in IT, you know that the ‘never going to happen’ happens more often than you think – it’s just that we prepare for this eventuality.

I’ve worked in IT for nearly 20 years and can tell you I’ve seen a flood wipe out 17 servers and GB’s of data, an electrical storm that took out a company for three hours, countless Internet issues, putting branches nearly out of business for days! These are all the scenarios and more that we prepare for, so ask yourself what you are doing for your website?

I repeat my earlier question: When did you last back it up? Does your hosting company do it for you? Have you asked for it to be tested? If you don’t have an answer to any of these questions, ask yourself why?

As a company, you live with constant emails and constant traffic to your site, both of which you need to function. More and more these days your hosting company provides more than just your website. It may provide your email, your online ordering, invoicing system, your accounts and bookkeeping.

So why haven’t you planned for the nightmare scenario?

Let me help. If you’re not backing up already, let me tell you what you need to do and some of the best practices we use in the IT industry. First of all, off-site backups are a must! Do it once a month and keep it safe. The common practice is a portable HD, which you can buy from Amazon. 500GB will probably be more than enough.

Use your hosting company’s backup software and download your entire site to your computer, then copy it to the portable HD, then backup all your emails and copy them over to the drive. Now lock that drive away in a box safely for the rest of the month, preferably somewhere far away from your office!

Why all the paranoia? A few scenarios…

1. Someone breaks into your office, steals the drive, they now have everything.
2. An employee uses the drive for something else and wipes it, then you lose your site…
3. There’s a fire…

Paranoia in IT is good. Keep the backup safe. You hopefully will never need it, but when you do you’ll be glad you have something more recent than six months ago!

Test your hosting company out…backup your website and then ask the hosting company to restore the latest backup, bearing in mind this might be an hour or two old. But it’s better to know they have a backup and you can use it than find out later on when you need it that they don’t do it.

As a responsible IT professional, I welcome being challenged to prove I do everything I say I will. If you want to know more about your website security or just need advice, get in touch!

Nathan Platt
Managing Director
Solidblueliquid LTD
www.solblu.uk

 

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