Written by: Annette Clark, CPA

Are you prepared?

 What plans do you have if your computer or network was to be taken out by a power surge or a storm? Do you have a backup of your data and programs? How long would it take you to get your business running? How long to get to where you were before the crash?

Backup specifics and procedures vary according to the needs of a company. After you develop your procedures, it is important to test, document and verify them.  Periodically reviewing your backup and restore process is a key part of ensuring data security.

Delegation of Tasks

It is critical that reliable personnel perform your backup and restore operations. Consider the following questions when deciding how to delegate these tasks:

  • Who makes the policy that determines what files and computers are backed up, and how is the policy made known?
  • Who is responsible for performing backups?
  • If backups occur automatically, who handles interruptions such as error messages?
  • Who does the backup when the assigned backup operator is unavailable?
  • To whom is the success or failure of a backup reported? Who notifies the users if a backup fails?

Policy Considerations

Developing a backup-and-restore process and deciding what to back up requires that you either set or comply with company policy. Keep the following issues in mind when determining your backup plans:

  • What is the policy for backup, and how is your plan in compliance?
  • Are all modified files to be backed up, or does company policy specify only critical files or the files of certain users, groups, departments, or divisions?
  • Are any disks or volumes on the computer not to be backed up?
  • Are users responsible for backing up their own client systems or files stored locally?
  • Is there a charge-back system for the amount of storage used?

Testing Backup-and-Restore Procedures

Complete verification of the entire backup-and-restore process is critical. Develop backup-and-restore strategies with appropriate resources and personnel, and then test them. Testing backup strategies also demonstrates how much time is required to restore data. A good plan ensures fast recovery of lost data.