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The Importance of Backups and Maintenance Plans

By Manish Thukral 12 Sep 2017

How the worst-case scenario can ensure you get the best results

Think about what's most important in your business today. Does data come to your mind? Data is one of our most vital business assets and it’s playing an increasingly critical role in decision-making processes. If any of your information is lost, the resulting cost and impact can be severe. In today's world, data is significant to your business’ success, and it does matter to your revenue especially when talking about financial institutions.  

With this in mind, data backup and planning for possible scenarios where data might be lost is critical to the success of your business; if your data is lost then it is gone forever. Backups are something that we rarely think about, but prove themselves crucial time and time again. Your computer or server doesn't have a set schedule for the next time it will crash, and  it can crash at the most inopportune time. To ensure true business continuity following a hardware failure or any unplanned downtime, organizations must have well-defined backup and recovery processes in place. By planning for the worst-case scenario, you’ll ensure that no matter what the situation, you’ll come out with the best results.


Maintenance Plans:

No matter what system you use, this method can help you complete some of the common necessary operations tasks without having a great deal of expertise complicated processes or specific skillsets, such as for Microsoft TSQL (Transact-Structured Query Language) or Scripting. A maintenance plan allows you to take care of routine tasks like backup, indexing, and updating statistics very quickly and easily.


Managing Master Data File (MDF) and Log Data File (LDF):

When you initially create a database, it works just fine… until it stops running. Overtime, the server will degrade and there are different kind of maintenance tasks you need to do and one of them is managing your MDF and LDF files. The most common issue around MDF and LDF files is, why does the disk fill up so quickly? Why does the log file consume my entire disk? Over time you have various activities on your database where the database's auto-grow feature kicks in. This results in lots of fragments and lots of little sections of the file. You can use the backup task from the maintenance plan to manage these files and schedule it to run per your business schedule.


Checking for Corruption:

You cannot prevent corruption so it’s best to detect it as soon as possible, and correct it. Corruption is mostly caused by some type of hardware or software failure, this can then cause partial or full data loss. Corruption is something that can easily go into your backups unless you detect it before starting. Ideally, you should check the logical and physical integrity of the database to ensure your database is corruption free and good to proceed for a backup. It is recommended to include a database integrity check step in your maintenance plan.


Time is Money:

Backup and maintenance plans allow you to recover from an unforeseen opportunity and help to either partially or fully save data and time. Maintenance plans also allow you to optimize your database and gain efficiency which leads to performance gain on your business operations and eventually save time, creating opportunities to earn additional revenue.

A real-world example where disaster preparation proved vital, is Texas. The wreckage caused by Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent flooding was a devastating situation for those who live and work in the Houston Area. Information management published an interesting article during this tough time that gave eight key steps on how to prepare for a natural disaster. Some of these best practices included getting information to new locations, have a worst-case disaster plan, and to anticipate the massive disruptions that will occur in communication.


Taking these steps and planning for the worst-case scenario can help insure that your institution is ready for whatever hardships may come your way, and that you achieve the best results possible.

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