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Backup Software 

Cloud Backups can be a tool in a regular backup and recovery plan. If using an cloud service, these folders should be backed up:

  • mysql\data\  - The database that stores patient data.
  • OpenDentImages\  - The A to Z Folders that store files you scan or import.  See Data Paths

As always, backups should be Encrypted, and regularly restored to another machine to verify quality. 

Be aware that cloud backups are not a perfect solution. 

Also see, Cloud Hosting with automated backups.

Advantages: Automated, with no action required by user after setup. Offsite, so protected in case of fire, flood, burglary, etc. While we recommend some solutions that we have reviewed, we do not sell backup solutions or directly backup your data for you.

Disadvantages: Initial setup and the first backup can be time consuming because the initial backup can be very slow. While the initial backup could take less than an hour if you are only backing up your database, it can literally take as long as a week if you are including many images. Subsequent backups are incremental, only sending the changed data.

MySQL Service
Automated stopping and starting of the MySQL service is not important because backups can safely be done without stopping the MySQL service. You would never restore directly to the live database location, so the backup service is not involved with the actual final move of the restored data to the live location. All of the backup services are good at copying locked files. In the rare case that a locked file causes a failure, it should only affect that one file and should not be a major problem. When restoring a database using the data provided by your backup service, follow these general steps.

  1. Restore to a new location (like C:\restored files\ or to another machine), not to your live database on your server.
  2. Stop the MySQL Service.
  3. Make a manual local backup of your current database (if there is one still there).
  4. Delete the current database.
  5. Place the restored database in the location where your live data was.
  6. Turn back on the MySQL service

Specialized Backup Services
These companies may provide more specialized solutions or managed backup services that require less technical involvement on the part of the user.

Central Data Storage (recommended)
Central Data Storage with Open Dental
Central Data Storage (CDS) provides managed offsite STaaS (storage as a service) to help dental practices meet HIPAA compliancy for all external audit controls as they apply to the Omnibus Final Rule.

  • Meet mandatory requirements for a data backup plan, disaster recovery plan, and emergency mode operation plan
  • Managed STaaS (storage as a service)
  • Email encryption (CDSmail)
  • Confidentiality Agreement (CA)
  • Business Associate Agreement (BAA)
  • Unlimited storage, archiving, and versions
  • Data compression
  • File retrieval
  • Satisfy 88 of the 168 HIPAA audit controls
  • No contracts

Backup Service Reviews
Specific backup services are listed here to help customers make informed decisions. Most of the products below have quirks and there are learning curves with each one. Some have been reviewed.

In June 2016, Carbonite informed us they are capable of supporting backups of live databases for Server Backup versions. Live database backups are currently untested. While some customers have succesfully used Carbonite to restore backups, others have reported corrupt files and even appeared to have databases corrupted by the backup process without even doing a restore. 
Available for trial or purchase: https://www.carbonite.com/en/cloud-backup/business/server-backup-software/

Recommendation: Works well, no known complaints from our customers to us. 
There are multiple interface options, including classic, web, and explorer (virtual drive). It keeps the last 30 versions of every file, only counting the current version when computing your storage usage. Timeline restore allows restoring to a specific historical point. There's also a free backup program (which we have found to be buggy) available on their website that's optimized for backing up to a removable hard drive.
Available for trial or purchase: www.idrive.com/p=open_dental.

Recommendation: Works well, no known complaints from our customers to us.
The quality seems high, and it comes from a reputable company. It has a rich web management interface, allowing centralized management of backups for multiple computers and offices. The price is very low and you can buy exactly the amount of storage you need and no more. You buy a key for a computer, and then you use that key during installation of the client program to attach that machine to the service. WARNING. Do not attempt to use that same key to install on a second machine. You will receive warnings, but are allowed to proceed. If you do, the first machine becomes detached, requiring uninstallation of the client program. Uninstallation requires a computer restart. To restore a backup, the following methods can be used:

  • Backup agent: If you switch computers, there is a function to "replace machines" so that the new machine has access to the old machine's data. 
  • Download manager: Stream data directly to a target location.
  • Zip Files: An old method that is used when a permanent archive of files is desired, or when a machine is staged first, then sent to an end-user. The zip file has to be manually unzipped.  

Once Mozy is installed, an icon will always be present in the system tray. Free phone support is available 24/7/365.
Available for trial or purchase: www.mozy.com

Recommendation: Not reviewed, no known complaints from our customers to us.
Feature set looks interesting. Has version management built in, keeping the last 5 versions of every file. Charges by storage size and does not charge extra for multiple computers. Automatic multi-computer sync. Remote access using browser. Share folders with others. The shared folders are password protected, but require the other person to sign up for a free trial.
Available for trial or purchase: www.sugarsync.com/

Folder Synchronization (for Replication)
Distributed File System (DFS)
A good folder synchronization technology if each replication server has a Windows Server operating system.

SyncToy 2.1 - Typically used for the OpenDentImages folder.
A free application that synchronizes files and folders between locations. SyncToy has many features, including:

  • Synchronizing just the changes once the first synch has been performed making future syncs very fast.
  • Use command line options with Windows Task Scheduler to automate SyncToy to run at specified dates/times, e.g. scheduling a backup.
  • One-way or two-way synchronization.
  • Support on Network Attached Storage (NAS) drives.
  • 32bit and 64bit support.


Open Dental Software 1-503-363-5432