The data you hold so precision is only as good as its backup. Your backup can only be trusted if it is monitored, verified, and tested.
There are several reasons a backup can fail. The most common reason is the destination might fill up and it can’t copy any more data. Other reasons for failure might be if your backup destination is unplugged, moved, updates to your computer, permissions, other programs installed or conflicting applications. The list goes on. The important thing to know is, things happen and no backup can be trusted unless it is monitored, verified, and tested.
Most applications we install, email us on failure. This is helpful in monitoring problems. You should review previous backups to ensure success. We use Cobian mostly for backups. It’s a free application and works well.
Although you may get good news from your backup or lack of email failure notices, it is still good practice to actually look at your backup files at their destination to ensure they are being copied. If you know where this is, view them by date modified (Go to the View menu, click Details. Click on the header, Date Modified so the arrow is pointing down.). Ensure the dates are recent so you know files are being copied.
From time to time (3-6 months?), you should actually copy your data BACK to your computer and ensure it works successfully. This typically applies to application’s data (E.g. QuickBooks, customer relation management applications, medical software, etc). You want to KNOW your backup is copying and can be successfully restored in the time of need.
We’ve yet to find a backup solution that is 100% simple, and reliable. Again, we typically use Cobian and have found best success with it. You can download it here: http://www.educ.umu.se/~cobian/cobianbackup.htm
If all of the above is too complicated, we can monitor your backup for you, or show you how to confirm your own backups. I simply want to stress that a backup installed 6 months or a year ago may no longer be working if it isn’t checked. Don’t wait until a failure occurs before you review your backup plan.