Data Backup In Healthcare


Do you know if your current business backups work? Do you know how to recover the data and how quickly you can recover it if you were to lose your data today?
Backups and data recovery can be a really easy business process. Continue reading and find out how.

Do you own or operate a health business?
Are you responsible for the data backup?
Do you want to ensure your backup strategy is effective and can deliver
when called upon?

If you answered yes, yes and yes then this is the right blog for you.

To start off with, we are here assuming two things, the first one is that you currently use a clinical application and the second is that you currently use a local server/workstation to host your clinical data.

Quick tips (we know you’re busy):

1- It is not about what you back up, but how you retrieve it.
Before deciding on what you are going to use to backup your data, make sure you know how to retrieve and recover the data. We want to recover the data with ease, speed and efficiency. Many businesses use backup applications but are not aware how to recover the data when necessary. Make sure you know how to recover the data and document the process.

2- What we backup to matters.
Just backing up to another computer in the office is a very poor backup strategy. What we want to achieve is having a daily backup that we can take offsite, and also a local backup location to use when necessary. We recommend using USB 3.0 Hard Drives for your offsite backup and one single USB 3.0 HDD for a local backup. Others may choose tapes for example but USB 3.0 delivers outstanding quality and speed in recovery.
Note: Older computers may not have USB 3.0 ports. These are normally coloured blue (with USB 1.0 and USB 2.0 in black).

3- How often do we backup our data and how many hard drives do we need?
Very simple, You need one hard drive for every business day (for offsite backups) and one hard drive for your local backups. For example, a clinic that opens five days a week will need five hard drives for the offsite backup and one hard drive to be at the clinic at all times. The clinic would swap the offsite hard drives every day.

4- What backup software do we need?
It depends on your environment, how quickly you want to recover your data and how efficiently you want to do it. If you are using Windows Server 2008+ then you can use the backup module included in the server to create a backup schedule. You could also use your clinical application to create backups if necessary. We recommend a number of backup products that allows us to recover any data with ease if necessary. Backup Assist or Storage Craft are generally good options to explore.

5- How do I check my clinical data backup?
We recommend installing your clinical software on a separate office computer and recovering the clinical data on it every month. This is a very critical task as it will help you detect any issues with the backup that may have occurred. If you would like to find out how to recover your data then please do get in touch with us and we will assist. Another way to easily check the backup is to load your backup software and access the backup reports. Most good products are able to record if the backup has been successful or not.

Below is a list of common issues that we assist health business with every day in regards to their backup:

Q: We are not sure if the backups work.
A: Find out what you are using to backup your data, locate the latest backup and using your backup software, recover the latest backup on a separate machine. Also, check your backup logs to determine if your backups work.

Q: My backup hard drive keeps failing. The backup software is telling me that there is not enough space to backup to. I am sure the hard drive has enough space.
A: Check how much free space is on the backup hard drive. Remove any old backups that you don’t feel you require and the most common solution is to ensure that your backup hard drive is formatted using NTFS and not FAT32 (if this sounds complex then contact us and we will help).

Q: What should I consider for online backup solutions?
A: Consider the size of your data, the bandwidth of your internet speed (specially upload speed), consider how you would recover the data when necessary and where would your backups be stored.

Q: Can you design a backup solution for our business? We open five days a week.
A: Sure, see below for details:

  • Determine what backup software you would like to use. You can use your server software or a specific backup application like Backup Assist.
  • Purchase five 1TB USB 3.0 hard disc drives (HDDs-for offsite backup) and 1X 2TB USB 3.0 HDD (for local backup)
  • Daily backup of your server to an external hard drive to be stored offsite and generally using backup software. This is for every business day.
  • Daily backup of your clinical data to an external hard drive to be stored offsite (usually same HDD as above). Generally using the backup module in your clinical application. This is for every business day.
  • Daily backup of your entire server to the local external hard drive using your backup software. This is for every day.
  • Daily backup of your clinical data to the local external hard drive using your clinical application. This is for every day.
  • Document the backup steps and add the document to your business policies as a backup policy.
  • Document who is responsible for the backups and where the offsite hard disks are stored.
  • Document who and how you/your staff will test the backup.