Offsite Storage of MLS Backups

Discussions around the setup, operation, replacement, and disposal of clerk computers, not to include using MLS
russellhltn
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Re: Offsite Storage of MLS Backups

Postby russellhltn » Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:22 am

RossEvans wrote:I was only talking about MLS. There still are some holes in the content being uploaded to headquarters (HT/VT, etc.). And the frequency of the MLS backup-set file monthly is insufficient to be the primary backup, only a last-ditch fallback. We really need daily backups whenever MLS data changes, which is most days that MLS is accessed.


The thread is on offsite storage. I don't think we're required to do anything but once a month.
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RossEvans
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Re: Offsite Storage of MLS Backups

Postby RossEvans » Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:08 pm

russellhltn wrote:
RossEvans wrote:I was only talking about MLS. There still are some holes in the content being uploaded to headquarters (HT/VT, etc.). And the frequency of the MLS backup-set file monthly is insufficient to be the primary backup, only a last-ditch fallback. We really need daily backups whenever MLS data changes, which is most days that MLS is accessed.


The thread is on offsite storage. I don't think we're required to do anything but once a month.


Where does it say that? The only place I know about a requirement for offsite storage is in Handbook 1, Section 13.3.3. It doesn't say what the specific interval is.

But even if there is no policy requirement for offsite backup more frequent than monthly, that would be cold comfort to us if we ever had to restore data after a catastrophe. I consider it best practice to keep the offsite backups as current as possible.

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Re: Offsite Storage of MLS Backups

Postby russellhltn » Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:49 pm

RossEvans wrote:The only place I know about a requirement for offsite storage is in Handbook 1, Section 13.3.3. It doesn't say what the specific interval is.

If that's the only policy on off-site backup, then I'd say what the church is doing is sufficient to meet the requirements.


RossEvans wrote:But even if there is no policy requirement for offsite backup more frequent than monthly, that would be cold comfort to us if we ever had to restore data after a catastrophe. I consider it best practice to keep the offsite backups as current as possible.

It would be nice, but I question the cost/benefit. Having the HT/VT history is nice, but hardly qualifies as mission-critical. Certainly not the same level of critical that a business would have with it's data.

One of the wards in my stake suffered a data corruption problem. I had them call LUS. When I checked back, LUS apparently had them use a empty data file and sent everything down. It's possible it was the on-line backup, but it sounded like they started with zilch. They lived.
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scgallafent
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Re: Offsite Storage of MLS Backups

Postby scgallafent » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:04 pm

Another important point to consider in this discussion is that most of the data being discussed is stored in corresponding systems at Church headquarters and can be restored from those systems. Membership, finance, and calling data can be restored from those systems and is as current as the most recent send/receive. The biggest gap in the current backup scenario is for home and visiting teaching data.

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Re: Offsite Storage of MLS Backups

Postby RossEvans » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:14 pm

I don't think that our HP, EQ and RS presidencies would agree that recording their HT/VT is not "mission critical." So thanks, but I still recommend robust local backups as a best practice.

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Re: Offsite Storage of MLS Backups

Postby russellhltn » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:43 pm

RossEvans wrote:I don't think that our HP, EQ and RS presidencies would agree that recording their HT/VT is not "mission critical."

I'll have to ask them. The ones I know would probably welcome an excuse not to worry about historical data. They're too busy with the present and all the other responsibilities.


RossEvans wrote:So thanks, but I still recommend robust local backups as a best practice.

Local is fine. MLS forces that. It's the off-site backup in the event of fire or theft. Maybe your area is different, but it's a very rare event in my area.
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Re: Offsite Storage of MLS Backups

Postby RossEvans » Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:07 pm

russellhltn wrote:
RossEvans wrote:So thanks, but I still recommend robust local backups as a best practice.

Local is fine. MLS forces that. It's the off-site backup in the event of fire or theft. Maybe your area is different, but it's a very rare event in my area.


I mean local offsite, not local onsite. And no, MLS doesn't force anything but a backup to somewhere, typically on C:. Even the routine copy to the USB kept in the file cabinet requires affirmative clerk action.

It really is not much extra trouble to make that extra copy to another USB on the clerk's keychain. It takes about 30 seconds. I did it for years and never regretted it, even though I never needed to restore from it. I also have fire insurance at home, which I have never needed to use, but I am glad to have it even though fires are "rare events." The insurance doesn't cost that much, and neither does the USB. Making the sneakernet offsite copy is not perfect, unless all MLS users always do it. But even having a weekly copy is better than not having one.

In the Millennium, when they finally get HT/VT online at lds.org and MLS goes away, this issue will go away too. Meanwhile, back up often.
Last edited by RossEvans on Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

russellhltn
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Re: Offsite Storage of MLS Backups

Postby russellhltn » Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:19 pm

RossEvans wrote:It really is not much extra trouble to make that extra copy to another USB on the clerk's keychain. It takes about 30 seconds. I did it for years and never regretted it, even though I never needed to restore from it.

I have no issues with that. I thought we were discussing something more elaborate.


RossEvans wrote:I also have fire insurance at home, which I have never needed to use, but I am glad to have it even though fires are "rare events."

Far more damage, so I don't see that as a good analogy.


RossEvans wrote:In the Millennium, when they finally get HT/VT online at lds.org and MLS goes away, this issue will go away too.

Actually, I think just getting HT/VT online will probably end this issue for most units.
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Re: Offsite Storage of MLS Backups

Postby RossEvans » Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:27 pm

russellhltn wrote:
RossEvans wrote:It really is not much extra trouble to make that extra copy to another USB on the clerk's keychain. It takes about 30 seconds. I did it for years and never regretted it, even though I never needed to restore from it.

I have no issues with that. I thought we were discussing something more elaborate.

Read the thread. You seem to be confusing me with someone else who was proposing a more complex over-the-wire solution. All I have ever advocated is the second USB carried offsite by a clerk, sneakernet style.

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Re: Offsite Storage of MLS Backups

Postby lajackson » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:23 am

RossEvans wrote:the second USB carried offsite by a clerk, sneakernet style.

We do a monthly backup to a flashdrive that goes offsite, usually right after the HT/VT is updated and especially right after the quarterly report is sent, when HT/VT is most current. As scgallafent said, everything else is current and available at Church headquarters.

If the computer disappears or craters and a new installation is required, CUBS will send the most recent finances, and a Unit Data Refresh will download the latest CDOL and membership information.

The only other time we make a backup is if we are moving a unit from one box to another.


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