Backups – Are they working? – Is your data saved?
Due to recent events, we have had several occasions where, despite everyone’s best intentions and assumptions, several of our customers have found themselves without a system.
This has happened as a result of a variety of issues to do with their IT systems not being backed up and/or they got a virus and it corrupted all files or a Windows update that went wrong, or a server just blew up due to a power surge, or someone just killed the server hard drives and raid array.
Or on one occasion someone had stolen the vital drive off a CAD PC?????
It was only then that people realised that the back-ups that had been running were not? The tapes were broken or old, The back-up link had been changed, someone forgot to do it, the previous back up was partially overwritten.
“Our IT company had a new guy and he did not understand the setup?”
And the list goes on.
We would, therefore, please ask all customers to review their procedures for back-ups and their regular checking, including how they would do a restore in the case that their current dataset was lost or not recoverable.
Prevention is better than a cure
Customers should also please regularly review other aspects of their Cyber-attack defenses that have already led to some of the issues above occurring, including:
• Frequent password changes using stronger passwords.
• Another check to make sure that any Antivirus software is still current and on the latest version.
• That all the latest service packs are loaded.
• That all staff is made aware of potential scam emails – If in doubt delete policy.
• That you regularly review your disaster procedures and policies.
• Servers are locked down to admin users only, and not used as a workstation to access the Internet.
This list is by no means complete and customers should seek advice from specialists if they are in any doubt.
How can we help?
As part of our own backup plans, we do have spare Terminal services servers both in house and externally hosted, that we have offered to customers in this situation, to provide a temporary solution should the worst happen.
However, this all depends on the customer being able to provide a back-up file of their system, usually the SQL database and any Sage or other accounts data.
If this data is available and can be transmitted to us, we can usually get a new system up and running in a few hours with up to 5 remote logins. This temporary arrangement is offered to give time for your servers or systems to be rectified or changed.
For our part, we will be revising our support procedures to ensure that our support staff do some additional checks before they do any installations, updates or development changes to our products running on your systems.
They may ask you to help them verify that Antivirus is loaded and current and that a full system backup is taken and current prior to any work being undertaken.
Also since not all third party IT suppliers are aware of the presence of our systems on your servers and PC’s, or in some cases external links to websites, we would once again like to request that they are encouraged to consult with our support teams, prior to making any changes to your systems or carrying out any maintenance, updates, or upgrades as well as any other software application additions.
This will enable us to make sure that we can advise, if we feel that there may be any conflicts or issues, prior to events taking place and also ensure that we can have the necessary resources in place to help you.
Systems down Procedure
Should any customers experience any of the above issues, whereby the products and systems provided by us appear to be down and unusable. They must first carry out their own internal checks to ensure that whatever the issue is, it is not just limited to our products.
In other words check that other users can still use their PC’s and applications, That users can still access the Internet and emails, That users can see and browse to the server and use other applications.
If the server is not accessible or other systems are down, then customers should in the first instance call their own IT support.
If it is clear that all other systems and applications are all working and it is only one of our products that is not working, then we would please ask you to raise a support ticket on My World to ensure that all of our support staff see it as soon as it comes in, and secondly that this support ticket is flagged as priority emergency.
Once this is completed, either we will ring you directly to start to assist with your recovery, or you may ring us directly.
Whilst we always endeavor to provide support to our systems as part of our service and license fees, we are obliged to inform you that if we are required to carry out any remedial work as a result of the issues related to above, or any other issues arising outside of our control, we will need you to have a pre-paid support hours contract in place to cover our costs.
If you would like to take out or bank any pre-paid support hours to cover these, or any other requirements, we would be happy to send you an order form.
If there is anything further we can do to help in this matter, please let us know?