SharePoint makes it easy for everyone in your organization to stay connected, collaborate on projects and share information. It’s a valuable tool to have in your arsenal, and as more information becomes digital, you’ll want to make sure that everyone in your organization has access to it at all times. Fortunately, backing up everything you do in SharePoint is pretty easy, and there are multiple ways to do it. The hardest part of your job will be deciding which method works best for your needs!
If you’re backing up a single website to move between SharePoint installations, you can use the content migration package, which creates a .CMP file. This file saves all your content, settings and other information for the website. This method requires only admin privileges for the site in question, and you can do it directly from SharePoint. Open the site, select the “Site” menu and choose “Administration.” Click “Backup” to get started and save the CMP file to your computer. When you need to restore the website in SharePoint, the process is reversed—meaning there’s little room for user error.
SharePoint, like most scripts, saves most of your information in an SQL database. You might simply prefer to make a backup using this method. One benefit of SQL backup is that you’ll have nearly 100 percent of your data, while other methods can lose a bit of data. Plus, SQL backing up is often faster than using SharePoint’s native packages. However, databases over 200 gigabytes in size are too large for some servers, so this method isn’t for everyone. SQL Server Management Studio lets you connect to the server and save your backup within the GUI. The restore process can be more problematic because you need to create an environment into which you can successfully restore the connect.
Another, perhaps more user-friendly option, is Data Protection Manager. This Microsoft tool works well with SharePoint and allows you to back up your data. Because DPM requires less server processing power, you can let the process run during business hours while your organization is actually using SharePoint. This is beneficial to resource-intensive methods like using SharePoint’s own Backup and Restore packages or backing up SQL, as both can cause server lag that will prevent your users from accomplishing their goals. By default, DPM backs up configuration, content and service databases.
The last method to consider is to directly back up your website account and all the content in it. For example, cloud hosting from Rackspace includes automatic server backing up, which is great if you accidentally delete or lose a file. For just $5 per month, you can rest assured that you have redundant backups of your SharePoint sites. Rackspace isn’t the only host that does it, but not every hosting company grants you access to backups — some only use them when servers fail or in similar emergencies — so you’ll want to check backup policies when making the most to cloud hosting with SharePoint.
Whichever method you choose, consider a secondary backup method. For example, daily backups with Data Protection Manager used in conjunction with weekly SQL backups prevent you from ever losing any SharePoint data.