Backup Definition

Backup is an element utilized by several disciplines, the goal of which is to prevent loss of information through regular copying of information to an external location. Fundamental to Backup is placing a value to the importance of a particular repository to determine restoration goals - time to restore and recovery point (determination of Backup frequency).

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Backup Key Points

  1. Backup relies on (1) understanding how long is an acceptable amount of time to restore a particular repository.
  2. Backup relies on (2) understanding the frequency of backups by determining acceptable recovery points - information stored in a repository after a backup has been performed but before information loss may be unrecoverable.
  3. Utilizing those two factors, Backup efforts determine locations for Backup copies and the frequency of the backups.
  4. Backups are often tiered between Offline, Near-line, and Online backup availability.
  5. The greater the frequency and easier the restoration of a repository of information, generally, the greater the cost to Backup.
  6. Cost must be weighed against the criticality of the information in the Backup copy.

Backup Overview

Backup efforts are seen in Information Management, Content Management, Document Management, Records Management, Web Content Management, Data Management, Knowledge Management, and every other “management” discipline. In some organizations, Backup strategies remain fragmented by their disciplines, with results varying. Other organizations simply place all of the Backup capabilities with IT. Neither of those strategies should be pursued but Backup should be viewed through a lens of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery.

Often Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery efforts, including Backup, are established as an organizational goal through Information Governance efforts, then are enacted as a cross-functional committee, sometimes underneath Information Governance, sometimes underneath Information Management, more often underneath Information Technology. There is no current best practice on where in the organization Backup efforts should reside within the Org Chart, they should, however, have broad participation from a variety of stakeholders that should resemble the stakeholder makeup of Information Governance efforts.

Backup efforts should not be fragmented, they should be coordinated - they should not be segmented by discipline or, worse, segmented by technology. There should be an overall organizational approach to Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery that should include Backup strategies.

The Information Coalition has published a resource called the “Relative Data Repository Valuation Methodology” that is a tool to help companies re-align their organizational Backup efforts in accordance with the value the organization places on the various repositories being backed up.

A simplified visual for Backup and Data Storage
A simplified visual for Backup and Data Storage

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Relative Data Repository Valuation Methodology (RDRV) - Provided in conjunction with Optismo.

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Information Coalition Resources

Some resources are available only to Professional Members or Standard Members (free).

Records Disposition: Challenges & Opportunities – Painting A House (Andrew Keller)

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Disposition is a process that poses many challenges. Records are dispersed in many disparate systems and storage mechanisms. There is a lack of central control which makes the process complex and highly manual. The process to obtain appropriate reviews, approvals, exceptions, and sign-offs is either nonexistent or overly burdensome. In this session, we will highlight the opportunities for cost saving and risk reduction through a defensible disposition program.

The Battle for Your Data: On Premises vs The Cloud – Julie Colgan

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Julie Colgan asks – It’s your corporate data and it’s increasingly being hosted in the Cloud. As the battle continues between the Cloud and On-Premise, what should your evaluation criteria be for determining what’s right for your company? Can anyone resist the pull of the cloud?


  • Why not go full Cloud?
  • What are your evaluation criteria?
  • How can you make the best decisions for your corporate data?
The Information Governance Conference 2018