With the shift in technology over the last ten years, it is easier to store pictures, music, and documents on a computer. The computer allows quick access to files and the ability to share them. Of course, with technology there are risks, but most can be minimized. One of the worst things that can happen is for the computer to crash or the hard drive to malfunction, rendering all your files unretrievable. A computer has a lot of ways to duplicate your files, but this is usually thought of too late. Once your computer crashes it is usually too late to make a copy or a backup of your files.
Creating a vibration database takes time and effort to make certain everything is entered correctly for your facility. Once everything is set up correctly, vibration data is collected and transferred into the vibration database. That vibration database is a health history of the machines for which vibration data was collected. Many additional items can also be stored within condition monitoring software such as machine photos, repair invoices, infrared images, and work orders to name just a few. How important is the data that is contained within your database? It is strongly advised that your vibration database be backed up on a regular basis. What constitutes a regular basis? It is suggested to back up your database after any major change. The rule of thumb for backing up a database should be related to how much additional effort would have to be expended in order to get the database back to its current state.
It is very easy to back up your condition monitoring database. A decision will need to be made as to how and where the database will be backed up. If you are running a network version of the condition monitoring software, then in most cases the IT department is backing up the server where this database resides. If you are a standalone user, then the responsibility of backing up the condition monitoring data rests on your shoulders. You should consider copying the database to a flash drive or creating a CD/DVD. Does your IT department have a shared network drive that is being backed up every night? That would also be an excellent place to copy your database. It is fine to have multiple backups of your database, but be certain that the backups are recent and not months or years old.
A regular backup policy can save time, effort, and protect your valuable data. The cost of external data storage is very inexpensive and allows for the vibration database to be backed up to many different media types such as CDs, DVDs, external hard drives, and USB flash drives as examples. Being proactive should not only apply to your maintenance program, but should extend to the backing up of your vibration data!