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Documenting the Plan
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The best data protection plan in the world is useless if no one knows or understands it. We have already talked about the benefits of educating end users on recommended data protection and security practices. The same is required for the IT staff who will be required to perform the types of operations required in your data protection plan. Documentation can include flowcharts for backup and recovery and should include schedules that clearly designate who should do what when. We ll see examples of this type of documentation in the section A Sample Data Protection Plan, later in this chapter.
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Developing the Data Protection Plan
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IMPLEMENTING THE DATA PROTECTION PLAN
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Once you have a working plan developed, it s time to put it to use. In many cases, the execution will be at least as important as appropriate planning. In this section, we ll look at best practices for implementing the data protection plan that you ve created. Factors to consider include who will be responsible for performing the necessary tasks and when and how they should be performed.
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Training the Right People
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It s important that individuals who are responsible for data protection understand their duties. In most organizations, every employee will fit this description. For example, clerical workers are probably responsible for locking filing cabinets that hold sensitive paper-based records. On the other end of the spectrum, executive officers must keep certain business strategies secret from competitors. When it comes to the technical aspects of performing the tasks associated with backup procedures, you should make sure that network, systems, and database administrators know their roles. In some cases, this will require additional training. Keep in mind that even minor miscommunications can cause major problems in the long run, potentially weakening your data protection plan.
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Developing a Schedule
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A schedule for performing certain tasks can be quite useful, because it clearly sets forth the tasks that must be performed. Table 2-4 shows a schedule that might be used in a typical IT department. The use of workgroup and workflow applications can be very helpful in this area. For example, Microsoft Outlook forms can be used for notifying users of certain issues. Or, jobs can be created in SQL Server 7 to automatically notify operators of seldom-performed tasks (such as a quarterly backup log review).
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Delegating Responsibility
When the time to recover lost information arrives, no one wants to hear I thought you were supposed to be doing that! To avoid a lack of communication, you should delegate specific roles and responsibilities to various individuals. For example, a specific systems administrator should be responsible for changing tapes in the autoloader, while another s duty is to make sure that tapes are taken offsite. A second person, the auditor, should verify that the tasks have been performed and serve as a backup when special needs arise. Finally, everyone should record these actions in a log that is periodically reviewed by managers.
SQL Server 7 Backup & Recovery
Task Perform a test restoration. Check media logs.
Frequency Monthly
Dates First Tuesday of each month Every Friday
Notes Every server backup should be tested at least once per quarter. Verify that no tapes are missing and that the appropriate tapes are available. Not needed where verification operations are automated.
IT Staff Jane Admin
Weekly
John Admin
Perform backup verifications.
Bi-weekly
First and third Monday of each month
John Admin
Table 2-4.
A Data Protection Schedule
At first it might sound like a hassle to set up such a detailed system, but in practice, it s quite easy. The key is to make administrators realize that they re carrying out an important function, even if it is very mundane and lacks glamour. To add some variety to the routine, you can also rotate roles between individuals. This also provides the added benefit of cross-training people on others jobs. I wish I could say I ve worked in environments where people enjoyed performing backup duties, but most well-managed environments have people that don t mind it.
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