It’s time for another wish from my ‘if only I knew then…’ list. If this makes no sense to you, check out my post from two weeks ago where I promised to share some of the things I’ve learned about ResultsPlus I wished I’d known when I was sitting on your side of the desk. This post contains wish number two.
How many times have you been asked if you have a current backup of your database? Between the warning messages that pop up on your screen and the verbal requests from technicians on the Help Desk, it is a question which is impossible to avoid. The problem, I recall from my days in a hectic development office, is that the question surfaces at the exact moment when you don’t have time to deal with it. Inevitably, it occurs on the drop-date for the largest mailing of the year or when the board president is tapping their foot waiting for the information they have asked you to provide.
My wish is that you know how important the answer to the backup question is and how simple it can be. With a very small amount of work up front you can say “Yes, I have a backup and it was run last night” Consider doing the following three things right now:
- Make sure a backup process exists. Talk to your IT staff or consultant to determine what, if anything, is already in place. It’s very possible your database is included in a network backup strategy. If not, you may need to purchase backup software which specifically handles this task.
- Know what your backup schedule is. Once your backup process is established, know what the schedule is. If you don’t handle this process yourself, ask the person who does. Is it run nightly? Are copies of the backups stored elsewhere? And don’t accept any answer which begins with the words ‘I think …”. Make sure you know and maybe even ask for proof once in awhile (like requesting the date on the most recent backup file).
- Know the process for restoring a backup file. Should it ever become necessary, you should know what steps to take to retrieve a ‘good’ copy of your database. If this is handled by IT staff, this is a good time to get that proof you need that your data is safe and secure. It can also help you gauge how much time it will take to get your database back up and running again.
Invest the time up front to protect against the inevitable problems in the future and get your backup house in order. Your time is valuable, and so is your mission. Serve them well.