GCN 12/06/02
SBA using Web for backup, recovery
By Jason Miller
As part of an agencywide desktop client and network upgrade, the Small
Business Administration has moved its data backup and recovery operations to
the Web.

From the article:

 "...backs up data from SBA's Washington, D.C., headquarters and about 90 regional and branch offices. It then sends the data over a secure Internet connection to an offsite facility where it is stored first on disk, then copied to tape and kept for up to seven years."

"We're backing up user data continuously -- e-mails, word processing documents, spread sheets, and backing up the system files, which don't change as often, two times a day," said Sherry Hill, director of communication technology services at SBA's office of the CIO.

"...The SBA pays $35 to $50 per gigabyte of protected data for the service, depending on the total amount of data, and expects the entire agency's bill for the service to be about $300,000 to $400,000 per year..."

Okay, so I realize the article says "for UP TO 7 years", but it's difficult to believe they're doing any selective backup based on record series given the comment that the only thing they're evaluating is system files "which don't change as often".  They specifically cite e-mail, word processing documents and spreadsheets as being backed up as often as two times a day... so how much information is being retained far beyond it's specified retention period, using this "shotgun approach" to collecting data for backups?

In addition, one would have to question at $35-50 per gig, is backing up routine data twice daily and retaining it for periods in excess of the specified periods a "best business practice" or simply a waste of money?


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