A: There is no single best way to back up data -- you have to have an entire backup strategy. A good backup strategy involves using your local area network, along with portable hard drives or flash drives and the Internet. The use of tape, CDs, or DVDs should be limited.
You should back up your practice management data and all images daily. Your local area network is the easiest way to do this. This data will always reside in your office, but a portable hard drive should be used to take your data offsite daily. This protects the data from theft, fire, or other office tragedy.
The Internet, your online backup, should be your backup of last resort. The reason it is your backup of last resort is that it can take days to restore your data in the event of an emergency.
The most important thing to remember is that all data should be regularly tested. This is more than just verifying your backup. To do this, you must restore the data and check for its accuracy by comparing the day sheets from your practice management software between the office and the backup. The day sheets must be identical. This will ensure that should you ever need it, the backup can be successfully restored.
Martin Jablow, D.M.D., is a practicing dentist and a self-professed technophile who lectures and blogs on a variety of technologies used in dentistry (dentechblog.blogspot.com). If you have a technology question for Dr. Jablow, e-mail it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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