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Database Backups Are Different From Standard File Backups

Think your SQL databases are backed up by your routine file backups? Think again.

A large St. Louis company was backing up their critical payroll database every day – or so they thought. When a virus hit the system and scrambled their files, they discovered an error in their database backup process and all their backups were, in fact, nine months old. 

In other words, they thought their data was being backed up daily. But it wasn’t.

Luckily, one of their consultants had a newer copy of the backup – a version that was four months old. Starting from that point, managers in several departments spent several weeks of precious production time manually re-keying 42,000 payroll entries, restoring their records.

Unfortunately, whether due to accident, natural disaster, or malicious intent, these types of incidents happen frequently. This company was among the lucky ones, and they survived. FEMA states that 40-60% of small businesses who experience a major data loss will close within six months, painting a rather bleak picture for companies who fail to backup and secure their data. 

What can companies do to avoid this situation?

We’re all familiar with standard file backups. We copy files onto USB drives, or email files to ourselves, or save items to an external drive – this last option is likely automated to occur frequently for your company. 

But database files are different. Unlike static files,…

  • The database is typically “in use” all the time. Even in off hours, the database is up and ready for when users need to store or retrieve data. Files that are in use often can’t be backed up by copying them to another location because that copy is only a static snapshot and not the actual working database.
  • Databases are often extremely large –  many are several gigabytes in size.  Certainly, too big to email, too large for a USB drive, and likely to quickly fill up an external hard drive.
  • There’s no easy way to verify the backup is current or complete. The company mentioned above had a daily cloud backup (i.e., standard file backup) that was running correctly, but the database backup process on their server wasn’t running and they had no way to know. They had no monitoring of the backup status, no way to see a problem coming, and no way to test the backups.

The solution

Companies either need to manually create an offsite database backup, perform a full restoration of the database, manually confirm the file is current, complete and working, and document the process, or they need a provider who can securely handle these tasks.

Please contact us at Verified Backups if we can assist. We offer a patented, secure system to backup databases, putting you at ease.