Tag Archives: disaster recovery

Data Backup For Disaster Recovery And Support

There are two main reasons you would want to backup your data: 1) to make a copy of your data in case the original data is lost and 2) to send in your data to CyberMatrix support when you encounter a difficult or hard to reproduce problem.

Disaster Recovery

Many companies forget that their company relies on software for day to day operations. This software usually stores important data. If this data is not safely backed up and a disastrous event like a fire, theft or even a hard drive crash occurs business operations can be seriously impacted.

Many companies will use specialized software to backup all important shared data. While these backup solutions tend to be very robust it is important not to become complacent. At least every month the backup should be inspected to verify that it is actually backing up all important data. There’s little worse than restoring a backup only to find that data from one important application was not included in the backup.

Also important is to attempt to store the backup files offsite. See: Disaster Prevention: Backup to the Cloud

Technical Support

Another important use for data backup is obtaining speedy application support. Complex software that uses a database to store large amounts of data is often virtually impossible to troubleshoot over the phone or via email when the software starts behaving improperly. To provide a solution to a technical problem, support technicians either have to have witnessed the problem before or they need to try to reproduce the problem themselves. If a problem can’t be reproduced chances are that either the customer left out an important detail or that the problem is data-related. By sending in the problem data, support resolution time can often be reduced dramatically.

All CyberMatrix non-client/server desktop database software has a backup solution included with it. To back up data in this software simply choose Records | Backup Data from the Data Manager menu. This will create a time-stamped file in the application’s Data\Backup folder. The created file is a zip archive file that can be opened in Windows. Customers with support issues can easily send in the file as an e-mail attachment.

For customers of CyberMatrix client/server software and web software, the data files will have to be manually zipped up and send to support. For newer software all files with the extension *.EDB* should be sent in. For older software all files ending in *.Dat, *.Idx and *.Blb should be sent in. (* is a wildcard that stands for any number of characters.)

With CyberMatrix enterprise software all data is stored in large database servers like Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL or PostgreSQL. Because the data files are not directly accessible they cannot be backed up as with local database software. One way to backup your data within the software is to export key table data in CSV or SQL format. The CSV or SQL files can then be stored somewhere safe. This approach can be problematic since not only is it more time consuming but CSV files cannot handle carriage returns and other odd characters in memo fields. Binary data such as images also cannot be saved in a CSV file which is really just a delimited text file. SQL files are better at handling such data but this depends on the database server used. So for enterprise software, the best mechanism for data backup is to use the replication features of the particular database server used.

Disaster Prevention: Backup to the Cloud

CloudMany customers depend on CyberMatrix software to run their business. The software itself is replaceable. The data it stores however is not. If the hard drive storing the application’s data fails, you will have lost all the data. Yes there are companies out there than can recover data on a failed drive, but this recovery is expensive and takes time. While you are waiting, your business suffers.

A simple solution to this serious problem is to backup your data regularly to another drive.¬†All CyberMatrix non-client/server desktop database software has a backup solution included with it. To back up data in this software simply choose Records | Backup Data from the Data Manager menu. This will create a time-stamped file in the application’s Data\Backup folder. Many of our products also have an automatic backup feature you can enable.

If you ever have a problem, you can simply restore this data by choosing Records | Restore Data from the Data Manager menu. In the dialog that appears click on the file you want to restore and press OK.

For those using the Client/Server or Web editions, which don’t have a backup feature, there are several third party backup programs out there. Techradar has compiled a list of them.

Note that it is very important that your backups are stored on a different drive. If you don’t and your drive fails, all those backups will be unavailable to you as well as your live data.

An even worse scenario you should prepare for is something like a robbery or a fire. If the machine your backups are stored on is lost, data recovery is impossible. Probably the best and simplest way to prevent this situation is to backup the data to the cloud. There are expensive cloud backup services available but why pay when you can easily do it yourself for free?

Setting up a cloud folder is simple. You can use a free cloud file service like Dropbox or Microsoft’s OneDrive. Once their software is installed you will have a cloud folder available that you can use like any other folder on your machine. Several of our products allow you to change where the backup files are stored. If you set this location to the cloud folder, your data will be safely backed up to the cloud. Otherwise you will have to remember to manually copy the backup files to the cloud folder.

Preparing for disasters is vital to a company’s health. One very important disaster prevention strategy is to ensure important data is backed up safely. You can easily and cheaply setup a cloud backup solution by using a free cloud folder service.