The Y2K Scare
An important and necessary step that cannot be overlooked in grant management is to know how to backup a grant management system. I am reminded of this every time I think about the great “Y2K” scare of 1999-2000. At the time, most dates were programmed into computers using a two-digit format for the year (ex: 90 for the year 1990), simply assuming that the first two digits would remain “19”. Many feared that computers simply were not equipped to handle the change from the year 1999 to the year 2000.
Institutions took several precautions and deployed many programming updates during the months leading up to the new year. One of IT Works’ clients at the time took an extreme approach to this concern, turning off all of their servers on December 31st, 1999. However, when they turned their servers back on in January, they discovered that one of them – the server that happened to house IT Works’ Grant Management Software – had undergone a hardware failure.
Much to their dismay, they had not performed backups for the server and were unable to recover any of the data stored on it – causing them to lose more than two years’ worth of important records and information.
The moral of the story? Having a plan in place to backup a grant management system is an absolute must.
Reasons for Data Loss
There are many reasons why an organization might lose their data – hardware failure is just one of them. Human error, such as accidental deletion of files or programs, is another potential cause. Intentional crime, such as hacking, can also cause data loss – as can a power failure, which can be caused by anything from a regular thunderstorm to a natural disaster such as a flood or a fire.
If your organization does suffer from one of these events, good backup procedures are critical and can make data recovery quick and easy. Without them, data recovery can be next to impossible.
Data Loss Statistics
Data loss is more common than you might think – and the results can be catastrophic for an organization. Eighty percent of organizations that suffer a major disaster face closure within three years, and forty percent of organizations that suffer a critical IT failure face closure within only one year.
Studies have shown that six percent of PCs will undergo an episode of data loss in any given year. This equals 4.6 million instances of data loss – which, in turn, directly results in $11.8 billion in lost revenue.
Ready to implement a plan to backup a grant management system? Read on for some best practices.
Best Practices to Backup a Grant Management System
There are many tips that you can use to backup a grant management system:
- Put your backup on a different physical storage medium than your grant management database. This way, if something happens to the drive that your system is stored on, your backup is stored elsewhere, and you don’t lose both your database and your backup.
- Automate your backups by setting up a backup schedule – and make sure a full backup is set to run daily. To minimize the potential for data loss, IT Works recommends backing up your grant management system daily. If you only backup your data weekly (say, on Mondays), then what happens if you have a power or hardware failure on Friday? You’ve lost a week’s worth of data. Running daily full backups will avoid this problem.
- Perform a differential backup more often than your full backups. A differential backup backs up files that have changed since the last full backup was executed. Differential backups require less storage space than full backups, and also take less time. In a case of data loss, if you have a full backup and a differential backup, together they will include all the files on your computer, changed and unchanged.
- Perform a transaction log backup even more often than your differential backups. A transaction log backup is a record of all the transactions that have been performed in the system since your most recent transaction log backup. Transaction log backups are useful because they enable you to recover the system to a certain point in time.
Data loss can cost your organization a lot of lost time and money. Make sure you have a strategic plan in place to backup a grant management system. We invite you to contact the IT Works team to learn more about our grant management system options.