While Blackbaud does not provide specific recommendations on backup retention, a complete backup process should include the following steps:

  1. Create a backup of your current databases and any customizations or files specific to your organizations needs, such as import templates, custom reports, spreadsheets, etc.
  2. Store multiple copies of all backup files on external media, such as a tape drive or CD/DVD.
  3. Regularly test your backup:
    1. Make a backup of your database
    2. Restore from a backup copy. Note: If you're testing a backup for the first time, we recommend restoring the backup in a test environment first (e.g. on a standalone workstation or isolated server). This way, if the backup is bad, restoring to it won't not affect your live database. 
    3. Verify users can log into the database and that the correct data is present
    4. Restore the original data 

Recommendations to protect your data files:

  • Use only the supported backup procedures for your Blackbaud databases. Using the Blackbaud Management Console (BMC) is the only supported method for backing up any product which uses the Blackbaud Management Console. 
  • Backup your databases prior to running any software update.
  • Schedule the database backup to create a compressed file in a separate directory from the main database files, which can then be automated to copy to a removable media. Many backup systems can be automated to process backups overnight. 
  • Purchase and use an archival backup solution, e.g. a tape drive. Blackbaud is not a vendor of backup software or hardware and cannot determine which backup system is right for your organization. Consult with reputable dealers and qualified information systems professionals to implement a reliable backup system. 
  • Create three sets of daily backups, three sets of weekly backups, and three sets of monthly backups. All media types can fail. Multiple backup copies increases your odds of recovering data if another copy fails. 
  • Store one backup set in a safe, off-site location, preferably in a fireproof safe. If you evacuate, bring your backup with you. 
  • Periodically test the backup files to ensure your backup system is operating properly and that you are familiar with the database restore procedure.
  • Never overwrite the most recent backup copy on a tape, disk, or CD/DVD. 
  • Never process an import, purge, global change without having a current backup.
  • Create a backup schedule and keep it at the computer where the backups are performed.
  • Use a separate backup schedule for each software program. 
  • Clearly label your backups with the date and type of data they contain.

Note: Other files which should also be backed up and maintained in a secure location include items such as:

  • Spreadsheets used for calculations
  • Templates used for importing, reporting, etc.
  • Scanned documents
  • Internal procedural documentation
  • Any other files your organization needs for its daily operations