About Start Software

Start Software is an award-winning developer and leading publisher of asbestos software, systems for the legal services industry and more.

Want to know more about asbestos software Alpha Tracker? Alpha Tracker is the most used asbestos software in the UK, Australia & New Zealand with more than 60m items of asbestos data stored.

Our legal services software Alpha Legal helps will writers, accountants, solicitors, IFAs and estate agents to communicate securely with clients. Read about developments here on the blog.

Or need help with Alpha Anywhere or Alpha Transform projects or software development? You'll find useful info here.

When did you last check your backups?

Our Quality Manager Kim and I realised at our last Quality Meeting that we hadn't done a backup/restore rehearsal lately to check that our main office server backups were working as we thought they were.

We have a professional daily backup routine (as you'd expect from an IT business!) and we check the backup logs weekly at least to see that everything is running as we expect.  We even have redundant backup drives and a spare server ready for the worst case situation - a complete server failure or theft/fire.

Well, to cut a long story very short...

  • YES the backups have been running
  • YES the spare server is ready and waiting
  • YES we know how to restore the server backup, but
  • NO the procedure we'd documented and rehearsed previously no longer works!
The problem is that Microsoft have changed their backup software recently and so backups taken with the older software can't be restored using the new one.  Despite trying all sorts of fixes, workarounds and Microsoft-suggested procedures the backup refuses to restore properly.

We've now changed backup software so that we don't have this problem again but thank goodness we'd tried the rehearsal now (when we weren't in crisis with a server down) rather than later when we were!

This underlines a truism in IT - backups are not worth anything until you've actually tried to restore data from them.  If you (or your IT manager/support company) haven't run a trial restore lately don't delay or else you too could find that you too have a useless backup when disaster strikes and you need it.


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