Top 10 Things You Want in Your Backup Contract (Part 9)

December 19, 2012

3 Min Read
Top 10 Things You Want in Your Backup Contract (Part 9)

By Zenith Infotech 1

We’ve almost covered all the major points. Our ninth topic is, “Length of History.” In today’s age, the law quite often directs us as to how much history and how long the history must be kept, and hopefully we can help you address those concerns here.

Disclaimer: Take these as basic starting templates and get local legal advice, as local jurisdictions may require specific changes.

The Ridiculous: I was part of a historical organization (which shall remain nameless here) that built a time capsule for its main location. Guess what the group put into it to be opened 100 years from now? A VHS tape! What are the odds are of having a machine 100 years from now that will be able to view it?  It’s almost like finding an operating beta machine now! 

Customer Expectations: You will need to define the following parameters for your history:

  • Backup Incrementals: If your backup system is the traditional grandparent/parent-child process, make sure you have the backup points defined. If your system covers a series of short-term incremental backups (minutes, hours, days, weeks) and longer-term incremental backups (months, years), you need to have this schedule defined so there are no misunderstandings about your recovery points. 

  • Backup Schedule: Many backup solutions will start their process from when the initial master backup is complete. This is rarely done on the first of the month, so each “monthly” incremental can also be on a mid-month boundary. This is very important when it comes to getting a restore of “last month’s” financials. Many systems create monthly backups that are really four weeks in length, thereby giving you 13 “months” in a year. The better you define this, the better you will be covered.

  • Length of Backup: Newer backup technologies may cover only certain periods of time or may only have the ability to maintain so much history, since they could be appliance-based. If you need to periodically “restart” the backup process to free up room, make sure you have a way to extract the current history and take it offsite for safekeeping. (Also make sure you have a way to restore from it, in case you need to access it.)

  • Rolling Histories: Some systems maintain a rolling (or snapshot-based) history. If you utilize one of those, make sure you have a process for making a historical “snapshot” of the history that you can archive off site.

  • Beware Deletions of Backup History: Many current systems allow for the deletion of intermediate history to free up space on the backup appliance. I would suggest that if you get into a situation where you are required to remove intermediate history, you have a sign-off form separate from your contract whereby your customer agrees to the process.  

Bottom Line: Cover your supported length of history and its maintenance properly. Next week, we will talk about the last big point: “Force Majeure.”

If you are interested in finding more about Zenith’s TigerCloud with built-in business continuity, click HERE.

Rich Reiffer

Rich Reiffer is VP of Cloud Practice at Zenith Infotech. Rich has been in the business of technology since the dark ages starting with Burroughs Corp., spending time with Steve Jobs (NeXT) and Ray Noorda (Novell). Rich has been in the VAR channel since the mid 80's with companies like Inacomp and Businessland finally forming his own company, Trivalent, in 1991. After 20 years of building data centers, etc. Rich has come on board with Zenith to head up the Cloud group. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of Talkin' Cloud's annual platinum sponsorship.

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