Do you back up?

If not, go and back up RIGHT now. Make sure your files open, the content is there. All of it.

If you do back up, don’t sit there being all smug, go and check your back up.

Backups fail

Yup. I discovered this the hard way last week.

GatherContent is the tool we’re using on a large government project to manage our content. So large, in fact, that it’s having trouble exporting our content as a back up in any format. GC support suggested I export up to 100 at a time, which is a pain in the butt because it means manually clicking on the checkbox next to 100 files. Even that didn’t work. Not even when I checked only ten files to back up.

Sometimes it would work or I’d settle for a CSV file instead of a Word document.

It wasn’t until I saw the file sizes last week that I realised something was wrong. Instead of exporting 750,000+ words, it was only exporting about 10,000 words. And this had been happening for weeks. Our last complete back up was from early May.

And then something awful happened. When you update a template in GC and if someone is saving or loading a page using that template and there’s a lag, the template update will wipe all the content on that page. Our pages are thousands and thousands of words long. And there’s no recent backup and the restore function doesn’t work because the templates no longer match so we have to restore the page manually, cutting and pasting content from the previous version. And with dozens and dozens of fields to copy over and check, it takes time.

The big fat lesson?

Back up your data is only half the story

Check your backups!

If I had realised our backups were failing sooner, we would have escalated it to GC much earlier.

And if you’re using GC on a very large project, there might be an issue with your exported backups.

Have you ever experienced backup failure? If so, what happened and how did it impact you?

Sandra


Also published on Medium.


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