Backup policy

Discussions around the setup, operation, replacement, and disposal of clerk computers, not to include using MLS
busman
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#11

Post by busman »

With the current release of MLS, I believe all or almost all the content in MLS is updated at HQ with every send/receive. I doubt there is any need to backup MLS other than to the local flash drive. Most wards of my experience only back it up to the computer's hard drive. For other files, I encourage wards to keep them to create subfolders in My Documents. They can place shortcuts on the desktop to each subfolder if they wish. If they keep their files in My Documents and it's subfolders, it makes a quick and easy backup for a clerk each week. Backed up to a flash drive it is easily taken offsite by a member of the bishopric or ward clerk.
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aebrown
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#12

Post by aebrown »

busman wrote:With the current release of MLS, I believe all or almost all the content in MLS is updated at HQ with every send/receive.
Although more and more of the data is transmitted to CHQ, it is certainly not all the data (except for the monthly full backup transmissions). I have seen no evidence that any of the following is transmitted on each S/R:
  • Home/Visiting Teaching records, including companionship and district organization
  • Custom Fields
  • Custom Reports
  • Saved Forms
  • Messages
  • Boundary Proposals (stake level only)
And I've probably missed several items.

So a local backup is definitely a good thing to have, especially since in my experience 90% of the problems occur (or are at least detected) on Sunday, when you have no ability to contact Local Unit Support to get the monthly backup, even if it happens to contain the data you need.
busman wrote:I doubt there is any need to backup MLS other than to the local flash drive.
I'll agree with that.
busman wrote:Most wards of my experience only back it up to the computer's hard drive.
I've seen some wards do that, but that doesn't protect against a fairly likely cause of data loss -- a hard drive failure -- and so it is not a good practice.
busman wrote:For other files, I encourage wards to keep them to create subfolders in My Documents. They can place shortcuts on the desktop to each subfolder if they wish. If they keep their files in My Documents and it's subfolders, it makes a quick and easy backup for a clerk each week. Backed up to a flash drive it is easily taken offsite by a member of the bishopric or ward clerk.

That's a good reminder. We recently had a ward that somehow lost all the contents of My Documents, and they had never made a backup. Some of the documents that wards store there can be a fair amount of work to recreate.
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jdlessley
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#13

Post by jdlessley »

busman wrote:With the current release of MLS, I believe all or almost all the content in MLS is updated at HQ with every send/receive. I doubt there is any need to backup MLS other than to the local flash drive.
With the CUBS conversion financial data can be recovered from CHQ. Membership information is also available at CHQ. There is still data that is only stored on the local MLS that would be lost if only the data at CHQ is relied upon. Some of the data lost would be, for example, temporary membership records, child blessings, home teaching/visiting teaching records, class assignments, custom reports, saved forms, etc. And that is only what I can remember off the top of my head. I am sure there is more.

Not withstanding the loss of data only available locally is the Church policy established in Policies and Guidelines for Computers Used by Clerks for Church Record Keeping which states that regular backups are required. Also Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops [2010], 13.3.3, 13.8-13.9 requires offsite backups.
busman wrote:Most wards of my experience only back it up to the computer's hard drive.
And what do they do when the hard drive crashes, or when there are natural catastrophies such as a building fire or the building is destroyed by earthquake or flood? Why do they ignore Church policies and procedures?

Edit: I guess Alan beat me to the post. So I can only add. Yea, what he said.
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russellhltn
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#14

Post by russellhltn »

aebrown wrote:We recently had a ward that somehow lost all the contents of My Documents,

At the risk of a fork, Desktop 5.5 pointed "My Documents" to the D drive. If anything happened to that link (like reverting to normal), everything would appear to have vanished. Especially since most people would be looking at the normal place on the C drive.
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aebrown
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#15

Post by aebrown »

RussellHltn wrote:At the risk of a fork, Desktop 5.5 pointed "My Documents" to the D drive. If anything happened to that link (like reverting to normal), everything would appear to have vanished. Especially since most people would be looking at the normal place on the C drive.
I already checked out that possibility. The files were not on any local drive. But thanks for the suggestion, anyway.
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rdkent
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#16

Post by rdkent »

Just as a point of curiosity, can anyone comment on what, specifically, they are backing up and what they are using to make the backups for off-site storage?
Are people doing whole disk images using Ghost or Clonezilla, or just backing up specific directories?
I have done this both ways, but am interested in knowing what others are doing.
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#17

Post by jdlessley »

rdkent wrote:Just as a point of curiosity, can anyone comment on what, specifically, they are backing up and what they are using to make the backups for off-site storage?
We use a USB thumb drive.
rdkent wrote:Are people doing whole disk images using Ghost or Clonezilla, or just backing up specific directories?
I have done this both ways, but am interested in knowing what others are doing.
Besides the MLS backup files I copy the C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\LDS Church\MLS folder (Windows XP system).
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barkeraj
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#18

Post by barkeraj »

So I just got called as an STS and ran into this backup thing. I was wondering what people thought about the following.

I use CrashPlan for my personal backups. It has a great feature where you can back up to other computers as well as online. The backing up to other computers is free, and you don't have to use the online backup to use it.

I am thinking about creating a new account for my stake, and then installing crashplan on the computers of the stake. Then they can back up to each other, which gives them an offsite backup (the other building). The files are 128bit encrypted on the source computer before transferring to the destination so there isn't any worry about viewing sensitive files. I can choose the specific folders to backup, so the other computers won't get overrun with tons of files.

So this allows for free, automated, secure, remote backups.

Thoughts?
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aebrown
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#19

Post by aebrown »

BarkerAJ wrote:I use CrashPlan for my personal backups. It has a great feature where you can back up to other computers as well as online. The backing up to other computers is free, and you don't have to use the online backup to use it.

I am thinking about creating a new account for my stake, and then installing crashplan on the computers of the stake. Then they can back up to each other, which gives them an offsite backup (the other building). The files are 128bit encrypted on the source computer before transferring to the destination so there isn't any worry about viewing sensitive files. I can choose the specific folders to backup, so the other computers won't get overrun with tons of files.

Since ward and stake computers are powered off a vast majority of the time, how can you depend on the target computer being on when you are trying to send a backup to it?
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barkeraj
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#20

Post by barkeraj »

Stop bringing logic into the conversation. Gosh!

But sadly, you are right. I didn't even consider that. I'm used to my own world where I have computers on at home 24/7 (doing my part to ruin the environment I guess).

I guess on that note I could have them backed up to my computer. They would always be on, and are still encrypted for security. Hmmmm.

Any other flaws in the plan? Is this something that would be frowned upon? I figure secured backups that are actually happening are better then rare backups on a thumb drive, that I'm not sure how secure they are.
Aaron Barker
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