Backup Information

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Creating a system backup is critical to prevent data loss in the event of a disaster. Loss of data can occur due to a computer virus, software failure, hardware failure, theft, fire, and more. It is your responsibility to ensure the backups are done at intervals sufficient to minimize your risk exposure to such an event.

With the help of your computer technician, you must determine the best plan for your agency. There are many options at varying costs offering different degrees of risk protection. It is also your responsibility to verify that your backups are working correctly.

Contents

Does Agency Systems have a backup utility built-in?

Agency Systems does not provide a backup utility. Hardware and software systems (independent of Agency Systems) vary, and your backup needs will also vary. The company or individual that currently provides technical support is the best resource for outlining a customized backup plan.

If you use a hosting provider for Newton, backups of your hosted server are included. Please contact your hosting vendor for specific details on the nature of your backup.

What backup programs are available?

There are many different types available to consumers. It is best to have your technician decide which is best for your office. We do recommend commercial grade products, and we recommend verifying the integrity of your backups on a regular basis. Your hardware consultant is the best source to certify your backups.

When choosing a backup system, verify that it has the ability to back up open files. Even if the system you choose does have this feature, it is a best practice to ensure all users are logged out of Agency Systems when performing backups.

There are also automated, remote backup and disaster recovery services.

What files should I backup for Agency Systems?

The entire Agency Systems programs, data, images etc are all stored on the master/server machine under the "Empire" folder.

The \Empire\ folder contains all of the data required to perform a full system recovery. Some of the directories within the \Empire\ folder can be excluded from a backup if space or processing time becomes an issue.

Required Backup Folders:
\Empire\data\*.*                   (database files)
\Empire\data\attchdir\*.*          (all files and all sub-folders)
\Empire\data\files\*.*             (database files)
\Empire\data\sqltable\*.*          (database files)
\Empire\reports\*.cst
\Empire\programs\*.ini
\Empire\programs\*.log
Optional Backup Folders:
The optional folders contain the program files which do not store any agency-specific data, or archives of downloads.  
It is faster to recover from a disaster if the optional folders are backed up, but not required.

\Empire\*.*                        (the root of the share contains installers, and possibly some configuration backup files)
\Empire\dist\*.*
\Empire\download\*.*               (backup of the processed download files)
\Empire\forms\*.*
\Empire\programs\                  (everything other than the file types listed above)
\Empire\reports\                   (everything other than the file types listed above)
\Empire\static\
Excluded Backup Folders:
The following folders do not need to be backed up. 

\Empire\archive\*.*                (old data backups from conversions, file recovery, or system updates)
\Empire\emptmp\*.*
\Empire\setup\*.*                  (extracted setup files to reinstall Newton)

Some backup systems perform a full backup of only the database files, with incremental or ongoing backups for the attachment directory. Attachments are all individual, and are not as vital to be a “set” as the database files. Attachments are by far the largest portion of your total dataset.

How often should I backup my data?

The amount of time it takes to back up your data depends entirely on the type of backup you are performing. If each backup is a full copy of all of your data, that could take hours. Most backup systems perform a full backup, with additional backups being increments backing up only what has been changed.

You should deploy a nightly backup, and retain multiple days worth of backups. It is your responsibility to ensure you have backup procedures and equipment that meet your risk tolerance.

My backup program offers "Continuous" backup service. Should I use this option?

In most cases, the continuous backup feature will cause severe performance issues on your server. Each Agency Systems database file will update thousands of times a day preventing the the backup from completing. In addition, since many backup services will lock files during the backup process, there is a chance of data corruption.

Nightly backups after operating hours are the standard method.

Where should I keep my data?

It is always best to keep the backup media in multiple locations. Do not depend solely on off-site backups. You should always have a backup copy locally since off-site backups are for major events such as fire, flood, or theft.

How do I know my backup is running properly?

Your local technician can verify that the backup is running properly for you. If you cannot be assured that all your files are backed up without error, you do not have an adequate backup solution. If you cannot routinely restore a backup successfully, you do not have an adequate backup solution.

It is critical to understand the restore function of your backup. A test restore of your system, perhaps to a test directory, should be part of your backup solution.

What happens if my backup is not complete and I need to restore?

Although we have utilities that may help in recovering data, the best solution is to restore from a previous backup. Remember, it is your responsibility to ensure backups are performed and are working correctly.

There may be charges if we are involved in a data recovery process where adequate backups were not available.

In the event your data files are compromised due to hardware, virus, or operating system failure, or a disaster, your backups will be required. They should immediately be secured and made available. We will assist you and your technician to ensure you are back to work again with as little downtime as possible.