B28. How do I back up my timeSensor LEGAL data?

Don’t leave data security to chance! A carefully set-up and monitored data backup system isn’t just good for your peace of mind, it can also save you hundreds of hours of work in the event of an emergency.

This article describes how to set up and monitor timeSensor LEGAL data backups.

General information

What should be included in the backups?

All timeSensor LEGAL data is stored in a folder called "timeSensor DataFiles." This folder must be backed up on a regular basis.

  • In multi-user operation, this folder is located on the server.
    • If your server is running MacOS, you will find it under “Programs” in the "timeSensor Server" folder of the server app.
    • If your server is running Windows, you will find the folder under "Documents."
  • In single-user mode (and thus MacOS), you will find the folder under /Users/All Users/timeSensor DataFiles

Please note that this is the recommended installation location for your timeSensor data, and in some cases, your data may be stored elsewhere. If in doubt, consult your IT specialist.

How often should a backup be performed?

The “timeSensor DataFiles” folder should be backed up at least once a day.

Where should the backup be stored?

Copy your “timeSensor DataFiles” folder to another hard drive. This copy is known as a primary backup. The advantage of a primary backup is that it is quick to perform, and data can also be restored quickly in the event of problems.

The primary backup should, in turn, also be backed up to a remote location on a daily basis. This is known as a secondary backup. Here are a few ideas on how to perform secondary backups:

  • Set up an encrypted cloud backup with a provider that you trust. One well-known provider is the company Mount10.
  • Copy the data to the office computer of the IT partner of your law firm over an active VPN connection.
  • Instead of using a normal hard drive for your primary backup, use an NAS drive. Set up the secondary backup on another NAS drive at a remote location so that the two NAS drives synchronise automatically. Synology is a well-known NAS solution provider.

You can further improve data backups by setting up “generations” - i.e. by retaining a series of daily backups at the secondary backup level. This is often the default option for cloud backups at data centres.

Monitoring

Even the best data backup system can be useless if it is not monitored. Check that your backups are working properly on a regular basis (at least once a month) and try downloading a secondary backup once a year to ensure that this works properly too, so you know that you can rely on it in case of emergency.

Backing up an active database

Unfortunately, another problem arises when backing up an active database: The database is normally in constant use and is therefore open. As with any other file, problems may occur when attempting to create a copy while it is still open. The copy that is created may not contain the latest data, since at the time the copy was created, some changes may still be in the RAM and thus not yet have found their way to the hard drive. The worst case scenario is that the copy is useless, because it is not consistent.

In single-user mode, this isn’t difficult to resolve: simply close the timeSensor LEGAL program before running the backup. This will close the database file and you will have no problem backing up the “timeSensor Data Files" folder.

In a multi-user environment, it’s not that simple: Asking every user to log off simultaneously every day so the database is closed for the backup would be too complicated, which is why 4D database servers offer the option of backing up databases even when they are active. Users can stay logged in while the database is backed up automatically. However, the database may quickly “freeze” during a backup, so it is best if backups are performed at night. The backup file is also stored in the folder "Time Sensor Data Files," in the sub-directory STUFF/BACKUP. This system ensures that there is always a complete and usable copy of your data in the “timeSensor Data Files" folder.

The automatic backup can be configured by the system administrator through the Administrator window on the server. The following series of images displays the recommended configuration in the Administrator window:

Final word

Don’t leave anything to chance when backing up your data! If you aren’t happy about setting up and monitoring your own backups, delegate these tasks to your IT specialist, or book Server Monitoring with timeSensor AG, which also includes these tasks.