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General Chat Thread, Backup strategies in General; We have an auditor in at the moment who has said that our current practice of taking encrypted removable hard ...
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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Backup strategies

    We have an auditor in at the moment who has said that our current practice of taking encrypted removable hard drives off-site to one of SMT staff-member's houses is not a good practice. His advice is going to be that we get a data safe and store that on-site instead, with the disks kept in it.

    Now, I don't know about you but this seems a bit odd. Surely, off-site backups are the standard way of doing things?

    Also, what value has a data safe got, as they're only usually rated to survive in a fire for between 30 minutes and 2 hours. If a school burns down, wouldn't there be a major heat-source for longer than that usually?

    What do other people do?

    My suggestion was that we should team up with a local school, and have a 'data swap' with them (ie. they store our disks, we store theirs).

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    aerospacemango's Avatar
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    We have 2 safes.....

    One in the office, which holds the tape stock, and another in a different building on the campus.

    The 2nd is used as storage for the latest backups, which are incremental, and permanent storage for the weekly FULL backup.

    This works well for us, as i cannot envisage a situation where both buildings would go up. (Not saying it ain't gonna happen....but it IS unlikely!)

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    Has he eleborated on good practice.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K.C.Leblanc View Post
    Has he eleborated on good practice.
    He will do in his final report.

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    I vote for off-site, everytime. The idea of swapping with a local school is good, as long as it's encrypted which you said it was.
    Though if someone targets schools a la Die Hard 3, then what do you do?
    At my last school, i always took the tapes home, and then rotated every so often.

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    Hightower's Avatar
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    Our backups are stored D2D2T which is situated in the same area as the servers. However, we have another NAS box in a different school building that RSYNCS with the NAS box in the server room each night, thus keeping a weeks worth of backups 'offsite'.

    We also have two tapes which are kept at home (encrypted). One holiday one tape is used, the next holiday the other is used. So at anyone time we have a weeks worth of current backups off-site, a backup from the last hols at home, and a backup from the hols before that at home.

    It's important (in our eyes) to hold these off-site backups because they wouldn't last two seconds in a fire, even if they were stored in a 'fire-proof' safe.

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    Backing up data to another building on the School site if possible is definitely good practice and I would also look at your DR policy and try to identify what critical data you definitely could not recover should the worse-case scenario happen. This data could then be sent to “cloud” based storage although there are limitations to this option, and convincing the stakeholders that sending this data over the internet to a data centre you might not even know the location of, is never going to be easy

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    DMcCoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aerospacemango View Post
    This works well for us, as i cannot envisage a situation where both buildings would go up. (Not saying it ain't gonna happen....but it IS unlikely!)
    Arson perhaps? I do not know the statistics for the number of buildings that are normally damaged in such incidences but it would be interesting to find out.

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    aerospacemango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMcCoy View Post
    Arson perhaps? I do not know the statistics for the number of buildings that are normally damaged in such incidences but it would be interesting to find out.
    Good point, and as we're in the middle of nowhere.....a fire could well be well ablaze before anyone calls it in.

    Hmmmmmm...We have "fire-proof" safes....Which appear to be very well insulted.

    *thinks* Maybe it's time to look at OUR procedures again!

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    Hightower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aerospacemango View Post
    Hmmmmmm...We have "fire-proof" safes....Which appear to be very well insulted.
    Doesn't take much heat to melt a bit plastic though right?

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    We have a fire safe in a seperate building, about 100m or so from the server room. Of course it isnt impossible that both could get destroyed in 1 fire, but its unlikely given where the school is, I doubt any fire would burn for very long before being put out. Safe seems VERY solid, cant remember what the rating in minutes is, but its solid steel and needed a heavy duty trolley and 2 delivery men to get it over there

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Servers backup to a box in another building, a copy is taken off-site.
    This what I was taught as good practice many moons ago and still think an off-site copy is invaluable.

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    buzzard's Avatar
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    we do D2D2T then swap between schools, the tapes are encrypted so the otehr school cannot read them. We then store theirs, best idea is to buddy up then they are always on a school site as opposed to a staff members private residence

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    The other problem with fire safes is that while the data *may* be safe inside, you've got to assume that the building will be inaccessible - may be partially collapsed etc., so it's still not useful to you.

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    36Degrees's Avatar
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    Daily (full) backups are done Monday to Thursday, encrypted and taken off site by myself or the tech when I'm not in.

    There are then 4 Friday tapes that back up the same as the Daily plus a few other things that aren't massively important and / or rarely change which are also encrypted and taken home on the appropriate Monday. When on site one set lives in a fireproof safe, one in a fire-resistant cabinet and the other 2 in different rooms at different ends of a completely different building.

    * Edit: and our auditors that this was a perfectly good solution when they visited earlier this year.

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