Many of us were shocked last week that a company as prominent as Danger, Inc. could make such a rookie mistake by losing the data of T-Mobile's Sidekick customers. As a system administrator, if there is one thing you absolutely have to get right, it's backups. Here are six ways to botch them.

1. Relying on RAID

So you've made a smart decision by making sure that your company's data is on redundant disks. Disk arrays using RAID 1,5 and 6 can continue to function if a drive fails. Great, but what if you lose multiple drives due to a power surge, defective controller, fire, flood, or user error. What if the data becomes corrupt or is accidentally deleted. RAID is great for uptime, but it isn't even close to being a backup.

2. Relying on online media

Perhaps you're taking advantage of the plethora of cheap, spacious external drives to backup your system. That's actually not a horrible idea if afterward you disconnect the drive and move it to an alternate location. However, keeping that backup online and connected is a bad idea. Imagine that your system becomes compromised by a virus or a hacker; all data on all connected drives could easily be erased. What if your power supply fries and it sends out a jolt that kills both internal and external drives? Keeping your backup hard disk away from you system minimizes the risk of a single problem wiping out all your data.

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