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Company I work on won't do offsite backups

I have mentioned FTP-ing to an ISP, or the commercial online storage sites. Or even buying more tapes and sending the weekend backup off-site.

I'm just ignored. It scares me.

I've been thinking of making my own backups but I don't have access to the company's key project which I'm not working on.

Any suggestions on how to influence people in this direction?

frustrated
Thursday, May 27, 2004

You're suffering from an inflamed sense of duty.

I recommend frequent washing of hands as a remedy.

Alyosha`
Thursday, May 27, 2004

Burn down the building and see how they feel when they realize they don't have any backup?

Just remember to take your stappler with you before you leave the office, though.

Fred
Thursday, May 27, 2004

Start out by taking backup of your own work (encrypt it!) and take the CD's home and store them somewhere safe (out of range of small children, potential drug addict burglars, small fires etc.).

Before that check out whether your company is the paraniod type that fires you if you take anything home.

After that if you have some mates at the core project make them do the same (make a small subtle hints that if the if the project goes toast the whole company will too).

I take it you have talked with your boss and told him the risks too.

Peter Monsson
Thursday, May 27, 2004

Please let us know the name of the company you work for and the management doing this sort of risk tasking.

Li-fan Chen
Thursday, May 27, 2004

You're not working on it. You have no access to it. It's simply not your concern. If your management wants to bury their head in the sand, you cannot control them.

Protect your own projects with tapes or CDs and keep two copies in two different locations, but stay in the bldg. If you take it off-site on your own accord without their permission, it may appear to them as though you are trying to steal company secrets.

Inform them just once as to why a good backup strategy makes financial sense, but you can't try to force feed them or you become an unwelcome pest.

Caution, if their whole empire crumbles some day because of a poor backup strategy and you were they only one harping about it all this time, you could end up with the blame for their non-existant policy. i.e. You knew better but failed to take action. Never mind who's responsibility it might have been, when all hell is breaking loose, blame tends to affix itself to the one who stands out.

old_timer
Thursday, May 27, 2004

"Start out by taking backup of your own work (encrypt it!) and take the CD's home and store them somewhere safe"

OK, this is the logical answer and very sensible. However, I havve to warn you here that at a lot of companies, if there is a data loss and you announce that you happen to have made an 'unauthorized' backup, they will first acquire the backup, then they will fire you, then they will sue you for stealing their secrets. And they will win. What won't happen is they will be grateful that you have saved the company. Why? Because your action makes them look like fools. If you instead, let them lose all their source code, then they can at least pretend that no one saw it coming and save face.

This board frequently advises being savvy about 'business issues' and suggests that has something to do with pleasing the customer and making a profit. Hardee har har. Contemporary business is no longer about profit and quality and  is about:

1. Profiting for your personal self at the expense of anything that would prevent that.
2. Contingencies - that means Covering Your Ass.
3. Making yoursely come out of any situation smelling like a rose while making your subordinates and peers smell like dirt.

Now if you work for yourself, your goal is to provide customer service and value while profitting yourself. But working for ohers in a corporation, you need to get real on what THEY are about. If they valued staying in business, they would be doing the backups.

Dennis Atkins
Thursday, May 27, 2004

In large companies where I've worked the game is all about career advancement. Quality or service is nowhere on their radar. The managers work all day at maneuvering themselves into the light of the higher-ups, kissing butt and acquiring all the kudos they can in order to get the next promotion. The ultimate goal is to get onto the gravy train of high incentive compensation, usage of corporate jets, zero risk stock options and so forth. Or are we saying the same thing?

old_timer
Thursday, May 27, 2004

Not that big of a deal.  Levels of backup are similar to levels of insurance; the more protection the more the cost.  Unless you are going to pay for it, you have litte say in trying to call them out on deciding on less coverage. 


Thursday, May 27, 2004

They pay you to program.  You program for a year, and just as you're about to ship, the company burns down.  So?  Now you program for another year to redo what got destroyed.  Job security, man.

Kyralessa
Thursday, May 27, 2004

Tell them a lightning can create an electrostatic field in the local grid which can erase HDs and Tapes.

Tell them this happend to a guy you know.

Then say that CDrs dont have anywhere near the durabillity people think, and can suddenly fail en masse for no reason.

To some this would be lying, but its really just creative argumentation.

Eric Debois
Thursday, May 27, 2004

I wouldn't do a thing. Like some said, you could be fired for bringing source code at home. Concentrate on your job.

I know one place where they have the nicest backup plan ever. They mail to themselves a CD with the source code with Purolator or Federal Express.

Anonymouche
Thursday, May 27, 2004

@Dennis Atkins:

I'm aware of it and to quote myself: "Before that check out whether your company is the paraniod type that fires you if you take anything home." And of course I agree with you.

Peter Monsson
Thursday, May 27, 2004

frustrated, you wouldn't just be fired; you would probably be charged with a criminal offence as well and the company would roll out its "staff theft" policy.

Get a brain.


Thursday, May 27, 2004

I've been thinking of making my own backups but I don't have access to the company's key project which I'm not working on.

Any suggestions on how to influence people in this direction?

paraphrased

I don't have access to the real important stuff I want.  How can I convince management to send it away so i can hijack it en route?

 
Thursday, May 27, 2004

Conversations with my bosses about data security suffer from the problem that we have completely different  priorities.

I presume that little or none of my data is of interest to outsiders, and that security is a matter of ensuring that data is not destroyed by a virus, hard-disk failure earthquake or nuclear war. They on the other hand never think anything can go wrong, but are absolutely paranoid about data getting into wrong hands.

So I'll get a request while doing a project to be careful about security. When asked a few days later about this, I'll inform them that the data is quite secure since there are back ups on a separate partition, the server, a friend's computer, three CD's from different manufacturers, my laptop, my desktop at home, Yahoo, and I've posted the CD's off to Sri Lanka, England and a friend in Australia in case the disaster only affects the Northern Hemisphere. The trouble is their idea of security is that it is kept in a floppy which I should carry around in my trouser pocket at all times.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 27, 2004

As far as CDs go, fact, not creative argumentation.

As for offiste, just ask them what will happen if there's a fire.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 27, 2004

This is just about not career advancement. If the source is lost then I am afraid the company might go under and I am out of a job. I'm not sure there are resources to recreate it. Very little written documentation.

It is just plain fear that motivates me.

I've only mentioned it to my manager. He said, "We back it up to tape." Tape of course stays in building. Same tapes used for last three years. I don't know if they are verified read after write or not.

frustrated
Thursday, May 27, 2004

I would just burn a cd once a week and put it in my desk draw at work.  That way you don't resk being accused of theft by taking it offsite. Sure it won't survive the company being burnt down, but if that happens not having the source code will be the last of your worries.

Matthew Lock
Thursday, May 27, 2004

I think I found their website.

www.fsckedcompany.com

SNT the evolution of RMS
Thursday, May 27, 2004

Unverified backup tapes.  You must have gotten my old job.  Except we didn't go under; instead the network guy got sacked.

An unverified backup is no backup.

Kyralessa
Thursday, May 27, 2004

Could you recommend one of the online backup services?  (IBackup, LiveVault, IronMountain, etc...) 

These ones have slick websites, which should hopefully inspire confidence with your PHBes.  Plus, these can be used as set-it-and-forget it services, so there wouldn't be the hazard of having a manual offsite backup plan that gets ignored after 6 months.

Robert Jacobson
Friday, May 28, 2004

Write down your case. Feed it to your manager. Answer questions. Don't attack. Free yourself. Sleep well. Unless you are an owner - forget about it.

Propose a topic for the next stock holders meeting if applicable.

m
Friday, May 28, 2004

""We back it up to tape." Tape of course stays in building. Same tapes used for last three years. I don't know if they are verified read after write or not. "

Been there, done that. Heh. Just so you know, I can tell you for a fact that you will not be able to do a restore off those tapes. Failure is just a matter of time and then, poof! All gone!

Dennis Atkins
Friday, May 28, 2004

First, your tape backups won't work.  Anybody who recycles tapes for three years is also forgetting to verify the backups.  And if you don't verify your backups, you should assume that you can't restore from them.

Sorry, bitter experience here.  I've seen tons of data get lost when the backups failed.

Second, the lightening thing really is serious.  I remember one thunderstorm in which piles of unplugged computers and offline magnetic media got fried.  If I'd paid more attention to Maxwell's equations, I could probably even tell you what happened. :-/

J. Random Hacker
Friday, May 28, 2004

I don't know what crappy tape drives or backup software you people are using...

My Sony DAT drive checks the tape quality while writing & reading and reports problems with a blinking LED. On top of that, even the standard Windows Backup software can do a full verify after each backup which I have of course enabled. Simple as that.

Chris Nahr
Friday, May 28, 2004

Oh, and I've used those tapes to restore some accidentally deleted files a couple of times over the years and never had any problems restoring from them.

Chris Nahr
Friday, May 28, 2004

>Second, the lightening thing really is serious. I remember
>one thunderstorm in which piles of unplugged computers
>and offline magnetic media got fried. If I'd paid more
>attention to Maxwell's equations, I could probably even tell
>you what happened. :-/

Just to continue the saga, none of our machines are on UPSs or even surge protectors. This was brought up because we lost a hard disk last week, fortunately on a server used only for testing, but everyone is la-de-da over it.

frustrated
Friday, May 28, 2004

Quote:

Oh, and I've used those tapes to restore some accidentally deleted files a couple of times over the years and never had any problems restoring from them.

*************************************

Often tapes which can be read on one drive can't be read on another.

anonymous
Friday, May 28, 2004

> And if you don't verify your backups, you should assume that you can't restore from them.

Hee hee -- but check it out, even if you DO verify your backups, it does not mean you can restore from them. I have posted before about two situations where I saw weekly tape backups from different manufacturers verify 'all is fine' and then, when we went to do the restore, it turned out that the verification was BOGUS.

Don't use tapes for backup. Don't do it. Use DVDs and never rely upon a CD or DVD that is more than 6 months old. Learn from my bitter experience!

Dennis Atkins
Friday, May 28, 2004

> Just to continue the saga, none of our machines are on UPSs or even surge protectors.

"Classic! Absolutely classic!" Dennis chortled with insidious glee.

Yes, seen this too at even more places. How dumb can you get!

My friend, you should start a blog and document all of your warnings to management. It will feel that much better when you accurately predicted the inevitable and you'll come off looking like a genius that did everything you culd and your wornings were foolishly ignored.

If you play it right, you can then parlay that blog into a better job.

Dennis Atkins
Friday, May 28, 2004

>If you play it right, you can then parlay that blog into
>a better job.

If the servers go south, I will need a better job.

I think I will make one more try to convince people - anyone have any links to horror stories - you know, "Company bankrupt after losing source code" type of stories.

frustrated
Friday, May 28, 2004

Being a big-picture guy, I look for what's *really* wrong, which is usually not what people claim is wrong.  I think in this case "won't do offsite backups" is merely a symptom.  The real problem is "my bosses are making stupid tech-related decisions, and I have no power to change anything".  Ouch.

My first thought is: do you really want to work there?  I worked at a place where I didn't have much control over what got implemented, and I was miserable a large portion of the time.  (Remember Joel's UI for programmers essays?  The thing that makes people have a bad day is lack of control of their environment.)

Personally, I'd get out.  (I haven't found a new job yet, but I'm happier being unemployed. :-)  If you do want to stay, you need to either (1) accept that you have no control over what they do, or (2) find a way to get some control.

(How to do #2?  I'm not sure.  It might involve being really productive and getting promoted up through the ranks some ... which could take months or years.)

My suggestion: if you don't like what they're doing, and they're ignoring you, get out.

big picture guy
Monday, May 31, 2004

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