5 Guidelines for Data Backup and Verification of Hotel Technology

There is no feeling worse than going to restore data from the backup tapes that you’ve been diligently creating every night – only to find that the last complete data backup dates from months earlier.

Your guests drive your hospitality business and your data is the fuel. Make sure your data is always available and your backups reliable to ensure you will always be able to fuel your business.

Many hotels have experience with the damage that can be wrought by malware and viruses. Despite continuous efforts to educate employees about malevolent emails and the danger of executable files, it’s inevitable that the actions of one or multiple persons will accidentally jeopardize your entire network. Many of our hotel customers have had repeated issues with the ransomware software called CryptoLocker.

The viruses and malware are constantly evolving and are often one step ahead of protection software and firewalls. According to CNN Money in 2014, “More than 317 million new pieces of malware — computer viruses or other malicious software — were created last year. That means nearly one million new threats were released each day.”

Another major source of data loss is mechanical failure. A hard drive is the most delicate part of any computer. A break down can happen more often than any other device. There are so many moving parts to a hard drive that they tend to just wear out. A different source of mechanical failure is the loss of power. Whether, it is accidental human error or Mother Nature, the loss of power means loss of data.

Every hospitality operation should expect to experience a data crash and prepare for the inevitability. To prepare, most importantly, have the correct procedures in place to backup all the crucial data that is stored in your PMS. Having a backup procedure is the first step, one that most properties can claim. However, successful data backups are more difficult.

Most properties have a data backup procedure; however they may not regularly inspect the backups to ensure that they are complete and uncorrupted. Hotels should be regularly testing the data restoration procedure to confirm that the backups will work in a restoration situation. Nothing is worst than thinking your procedure is going to fix your issue, only to find out you data backup is not working.

SC Magazine studied the cost to organizations and reports  that ”breaches and malware cost $491 billion in 2014.” No organization can afford to ignore opportunities to limit the damages and costs associated with these data problems and that means investing in quality and verified data backups.So what are the best practices? What can you do to make sure your data is always at your finger tips?

  1. Get upper management support for proper, verifiable data backups
  2. Set an easy and simple backup policy and procedure
  3. Train your primary staff on the procedure and train secondary staff in case of absence or turnover so that you can avoid a knowledge gap
  4. Establish and train a procedure to verify that each daily backup is complete
  5. Constantly test backups, verify the procedures are working as planned and ensure that employees are adequately trained

Even in the year 2016, it’s still important to discuss data backups. Any data in your system and on your user’s computers can be vulnerable to loss. Without a quality data backup, your organization can lose days, weeks or even months of crucial business data that can make it difficult to serve your guests.