May 4, 2012
One of the biggest mistakes that I see dentists making is how they backup their data. Pretty much all backup systems work: external drives, tape, CD/DVD, online…almost all will likely give you a proper backup of your data. However, that’s not the question to ask. The real question is, “If my server goes down, how quickly can I get back up and running?”. Having a backup is a good first step, but it’s not enough. Let’s follow this through.
So, the server goes down. What you’ll need to do is get another server or designate another computer as a temporary server. Then you’ll need to re-install all your programs, re-network the computers, printers, shares, etc. THEN you can download your data into the new “server”. For most offices, this is at least a 1-2 day process. So, what I really recommend for practices is that you develop not just a backup protocol, but more importantly, a “disaster recovery” protocol.
What I’ve been installing for my clients over the years has been a two-pronged approach. First, a local device that is waterproof, shockproof, and fireproof. On that device, I put an exact image of the server, updated once or twice each day (you can do it more often, but it tends to slow down the network). So, if the server goes down, I copy this image of the server on to a “virtual” environment on another computer, and we can boot from there. Downtime is usually measured in minutes, no more than an hour or two depending on how much data you have. In addition to this, we also copy the data to a virtual server in the cloud (on a remote server). So, even if the entire office burned down, we could still connect to that virtual server in the cloud and access our practice management data, images, etc.
We’ve setup a system called DataProtect, but there are many similar systems out there. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to discuss ways to improve your backup system.
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