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Cautionary Tales: Should You Back Up Your Website?

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Cautionary Tales: Should You Back Up Your Website?

 

Many cautionary tales reinforce the idea that your website should have a proper back up plan in place. Maybe you’ve heard stories about governments and security agencies getting hacked and hacking others. It’s no secret that even the security systems of big businesses can be breached.

 

But none of these stories are more poignant than the tale of a young woman almost sold into slavery. Her name was Jessie and a hero called Woody rescued her. This story almost never happened because data was not backed up properly.

 

This tale is Toy Story 2, made by Disney Pixar in 1999. It almost didn’t make it onto the big screen after a large chunk of the movie was deleted during production, and there wasn’t a proper backup in place.

 

This is not a story of about a website. But the principles are the same. You’ll lose time and money if you lose data, if your website is hacked, or if your website suffers a technical problem – even if your website is backed up. If it is not backed up, the costs in terms of time and money can be enormous.

 

To Infinity, But We Almost Didn’t Get There

 

The problem at Disney Pixar occurred when someone on the team accidentally deleted a large number of files while the movie was in production. And it was a large number indeed: nearly 90 percent of the movie. You can imagine the panic.

 

But wait: they did have a backup system. So they ran the backup and it restored the files. But because of disk space issues, it only restored some of them. So now 40 percent of the movie was still missing. Now it’s time to panic!

 

Toy Story 2 made it to the big screens, and eventually became the second highest-grossing animated film of all-time. But it took a stroke of luck for this to happen:

 

The Supervising Technical Director of the movie was a new mother, and Disney Pixar set her up with a workstation at home so she could continue to work on the movie. Her home computer had copies of the files that were deleted so the missing elements could be recovered.

 

Don’t Rely On This Sort of Luck

 

When it comes to your website, luck is the last thing you should depend on. The main reason for this is that hacking and data loss are incredibly common. Technical problems can occur on websites, or a disgruntled employee could steal sensitive information. You might suffer from a specifically targeted hack designed to destroy your website and data, or you might get caught up in an attack made against one of your suppliers – your webhost, for example.

 

You will need a two-pronged approach to deal with these issues. First, web security is not only important, but it’s necessary to prevent hacks. This should include software as well as company procedures, such as password control. Second, you need to have reliable site backup and restore utilities running on your website. These are simple to implement and can save you a lot of heartache.

 

One final note of caution and it comes from South Korea, one of the most technically advanced countries in the world. In July 2013 the website of its president was hacked and data was lost. If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.