The Importance of Backups

When was the last time you backed up your files?

Last Thursday night, Grenfell Internet Centre suffered a power outage in which our self-managed web server (where you read this webpage from) suffered a damaged hard drive. To be more specific the hard drive suffered a head crash.

A head crash is when the read/write head meets the rotating platter in which data is stored. This is not something that can be repaired other than to replace the hard drive. It is a common fault for spinning disc drives.

Usually in the case of a power outage, our servers can run for roughly 1 hour before powering off safely. This works fine for our business as power tends to be reliable in Grenfell and power outages are usually short.

Unfortunately, the time of the power outage was a little longer than excepted and was also the time our web server’s daily backups are run, and of course, this caused that data to become corrupted.

Luckily, we make multiple backups. Automatic daily backups, plus a manual offline backup, which is performed before installing patches and major software upgrades on our server, which happens roughly once a week. This setup works well for us, and as you can see our website is again up and running.

An offline backup is stored unplugged and away from the machine you are backing up. This has its advantages, as we can see from reading this article. Another advantage of offline backups is that if ransomware is to make its way onto your machine, your backups will not be affected.

A disadvantage of an offline backup is it may not be completely up-to-date, depending on the last time you plugged it in and manually ran the backup. If you have put off or forgotten to run a backup, you could lose months’ worth of data.

Which brings me to ask again; When was the last time you backed up your files?