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A fellow spam fighter appears to be down for the count for what seems like a trivial reason. According to their website, someone broke in to their offices and stole their code-base.
They didn't have any off-site backups. Any future updates to their spam blocker software product will require recoding from scratch.
It's easy to point a finger and laugh - but, ask yourself, "when was the last time I made an offsite backup?" I asked myself that question and didn't like the answer.
Fire and theft are realities both at home and at work. The cost of storing off-premises backups don't have to be high. In a small organization, they can be kept at the home of one of the company's senior officers.
Here, it is "corporate policy" to have frequent backups of the spam filter software outside the office. In reality, there haven't been as many as there should be.
Larger organizations may want to invest in a proper storage service. One word of caution on this though. I've heard a story regarding how a major aerospace manufacturer's tapes were delivered to a retail clothing company by mistake.
It always amazes me how people are lulled into a false sense of security because they have a single layer of backup protection in place. Mirrored hard-drives, simple tape backup or a source control system don't offer complete coverage in and of themselves.
Increasingly people are relying on special software used in conjunction with a second hard drive to provide redundancy. This certainly offers some protection, but what happens if an email containing a Trojan sneaks past your spam detector and smokes everything? Or that new disk-defragmenter you're trying scrambles all your data?
If it's important, get it on removable media and get it off-site.