Data Backup and Recovery

What would you consider the most valuable assets at your dental office? Your technology environment is a vital part of daily operation. Patient data is critical when you need it to provide dependable care to your patients. Without your patient data, will you still be able to practice dentistry? 

It is imperative to understand that data backup should be included in your emergency procedures and disaster recovery process. Moreover, data backup is the key element to get your practice back into a close-to-current state of operation as it was prior to a disaster so that you can continue to provide dental services to your patients.  

Data backup can be tricky and time consuming. When selecting an IT service provider that offers backup as part of their service plan, it is imperative to understand what level of data backup they are providing to your practice and does the backup service address your needs if you experience any kind of data loss, application or system failures. Some important key questions when selecting a data backup solution for your practice are:

  1. How often are you backing up your data? Do you have a daily backup solution in place?
  2. What kind of data backup do you have? Do you have local backup, cloud backup, or both?
  3. Is your backup just data files backup or do you have a full image system backup? 
  4. What is the recovery time to restore your data or system?
  5. How reliable is your data backup solution?

Local Backup

Local backup is having a physical storage device at your practice. Your data is than stored locally on the hard drives, flash drives or CDs.  Some of the benefits of having a local backup are easy implementation, data accessibility, and speed when backing up the data. However, there are some downsides to having a local backup, such as hardware failure or accidentally knocking the device over and damaging the hardware component inside.   

Cloud Backup

Cloud backup, also known as offsite or remote data backup, relies on storing your data, media and system files online. Cloud storage solutions, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, are not the same as a full-scale online backup solution. While cloud storage solutions offer the ability to save or sync data files online, it often does not manage backup of your system files. For example, a practice may have all their server’s folders, documents and images saved online. Once the server crashes, the practice will need to retrieve the data files online. What about the dental practice management and imaging management software, server operating system and other applications needed to operate the business? The cloud backup solution offers great benefit to get a practice back in operational mode by restoring the applications, tools and data rapidly. 

A common misconception of having a data backup is the ability to quickly download the data and start working immediately, which can lead to gaps in the data disaster recovery process. To ensure that a practice is capable of getting back up and running after a system failure, the practice must understand that data backup is not the same thing as data recovery. Data backup is the process of saving a copy of system files and data in a separate location so that a copy is always available when your system crashes. Whereas, data recovery is the process of retrieving the backup data and configuring and restoring the data along with the system files to create a new working server.  

Before purchasing a data backup solution, it is important to understand what backup files are being saved, how long is your backup saved for, and what is the recovery plan if a disaster strikes. Equally important is training your team on procedures of getting the backup to ensure quick reaction time to reduce downtime. Please contact us today to discuss the right data backup solutions for your practice.