Guess your company just died. Sorry about that.
Guess your company just died. Sorry about that.
Picture this: You're sitting in your office, drinking your morning coffee, when you get a call from your programmer.
"We've been hacked! All our systems are offline, and we have no reliable backups. All our data is gone."
You're a budding entrepreneur. You spent 8 months and all your savings building a slick new app.
Finally, you launched. You got your first users! People were telling their friends! You started to become profitable! The future looked promising.
Maybe a hack, maybe a programmer's mistake, maybe a bug in the system. Now your users' passwords, account data, and website content: gone.
For a SaaS startup, your data IS your company.
For a young startup there is never enough time in the day. Your developers have way better things to do than twiddle with backups. UNLESS your database is missing in action. Then suddenly and at great cost everyone is on data recovery duty. But!
What if you had a trusted specialist install bulletproof backups that you knew were set up correctly? No more worrying if the backups never started in the first place.
What if you had a trusted specialist check those backups every day to make sure they are still working? No more worrying if the backups silently started failing and nobody noticed.
What if you had a trusted specialist actually restore those backups and manually inspect them regularly to make sure they aren't corrupted? No more worrying if a mistake renders your backups worthless right before you need them.
In the last 5+ years of building web-based software systems for young companies, I've developed a method for doing backups that ensures you never have to deal with the nightmare scenario of data loss becoming a company-ending event.
Introducing my Anti-Death Methodology:
My backups are offsite. They are immune to hurricanes and fires in your data center, and stored in the cloud. My backups are encrypted. Though offsite, they are immune to snooping or data compromise since they are encrypted before leaving your server. My backups are undeleteable. An accidental keypress by an employee or an intentional attack by a hacker can't delete your backups that are already created.
We'll sit down for a quick 20 minute call to meet each other and discuss your high level situation.
We'll determine if we like each other, which is important because if we don't like each other how are you going to trust me with your entire database's data?
When was the last time you thought about backups? Never? Do you have a plan in the event that you lose data?
We'll get on a video call with the person currently in charge of your servers. We'll develop a detailed plan for disaster recovery and I'll outline the exact steps needed to be taken to install backups on your server.
After we prepare an action plan for setting up backups, you can take the plan and implement it yourself. Or...
You can hire me as your Anti-Death Guardian and I'll implement and maintain the plan for you.
Thinking about backups is great and all, but if you don't actually implement the plan it does no good.
After we've done a disaster planning session, this phase will include me installing backups on your servers. I'll then be your company's personal backups administrator, monitoring the health of your backups daily and performing manual test restores to verify the integrity of the backups weekly.
Every month you'll receive a detailed report of the state of each backup and any anomalies that happened and my response to them.
Glad you asked! I have answers. If your question isn't answered here you can also email me at email@example.com.
Backups are run nightly at a time we agree on. Most likely sometime around 3am when load on your app is likely to be the lightest. If you need higher frequency we can discuss that in our call.
Every SaaS app is different, and determining what to back up is an important topic of the Anti-Death Checkup.
But, normally we will back up your database as a
pg_dump file, and any user-generated files. Your source code is backed up by virtue of it being in version control on multiple developer machines and your Git server, so it is not usually included in the backups.
Every month on the first of the month you'll receive a detailed report of every backup and it's status. Any incidents or outages will also be recorded and my response to them.
Thanks to the monitoring system I'll set up, I'll be notified when a backup fails and repair the backup system within 24 hours. In the event that the backups system stopped working due to a code change or server administration change, I'll contact an agreed upon person in your company and explain the situation to make sure the problem doesn't happen again.
Your developers and system administrators are the ones who are intimately familiar with your system, and so they should be the ones restoring the data.
In the event of data loss, I'll provide the backups immediately. The exact way I provide them is another key part of the Anti-Death Checkup.
Yeah but you haven't yet.
Have you checked them lately? I didn't think so. You don't have backups.
Yeah but you haven't done that regularly yet.
Neither had any of these people.
I'll be setting up Tarsnap backups on your server. Tarsnap describes itself as "online backups for the truly paranoid." If you are concerned about the integrity of this service, consider that Stripe stores all of everyones' credit cards on Tarsnap and wouldn't use anyone else.
As we've established, you definitely could set up backups yourself. Maybe you already have. But when was the last time you thought about them? When was the last time you actually checked to see if they work?
Data loss always happens at the worst possible time, and do you want to risk your entire company on something you think is working? I provide the peace of mind that your company will never suddenly up and disappear for completely preventable reasons.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll personally get right back to you.
Over the past 6 years of building and hosting startup companies' SaaS apps, I've developed a tried and true method for doing backups that will let you sleep well at night and ensure this horror story never has to happen to you.
"We have worked with David Colgan for over 2 years now. David has redesigned, maintained and hosted and our worldwide radio promotions program. David has provided numerous upgrades over the last few years. Whenever we had a issue with the software David has always responded within minutes and any issues were promptly resolved. We have the highest regard for David and his expertise. We highly recommend his services."
Consider any of the following highly realistic scenarios: