Q1: How can I review the schedule for the SQL Server Agent Maintenance Plans that perform MinistryPlatform database maintenance?
Launch SQL Server Management Studio and log in to the SQL instance hosting your MinistryPlatform database.  In the left-hand tree view expand Management>Maintenance Plans.  You should see at least three plans.  Right-click on a plan and left-click Modify; this will launch the Design view.  Scheduling is in the top of the Design window, and Maintenance Plan Tasks are in the bottom.  Click the calendar icon on the Subplan to see the Job Schedule properties window.  On some older MinistryPlatform installs you may see multiple sub plans, but most churches will see one sub plan per SQL Maintenance Plan.

Q2: Why do the backup jobs delete old bak and trn files?
When a backup job runs it creates a backup file for each database that it backs up.  Without a cleanup task, it doesn't take long for a drive to completely fill up with backup files.  If the backup destination drive fills up your server will stop writing backups. If your backups are on the same drive with your SQL databases your applications will stop working.  

Q3: How long should you keep backups?
A lot of factors need to be considered when you decide to adjust the backup file retention of your SQL server.  

  • How large is the drive where you will be writing local backups?
  • How large is the media you use for off-server backups (tape, iSCSI, cloud etc)?
  • How large are your databases?
  • Are you using backup compression in SQL?
  • Do you have a large number of transactions hitting your database?

The default Maintenance Cleanup tasks configured during MinistryPlatform deployment retain two weeks of backups (both full and transaction log). Two-week retention is generally a safe policy, meaning it gives the average organization enough backup history on-server to deal with restore needs for most situations and doesn't take so much space that it fills up the drive. Under the right circumstances, it is possible to store significantly more backup files on your server without negatively affecting your applications.


Q4: Why is the SSRS Encryption Key important?
The Report Server uses encryption to secure sensitive data in the ReportServer database, including connection strings and stored passwords. You must have a backup copy of the encryption key to restore the database in case of hardware failure or moving the database to different hardware, otherwise, SSRS won't be able to access parts of the database.  

Q5: How often should the Encryption Key be backed up?
The encryption key doesn't change on a regular basis, so if you make a backup and put it in a safe place now you won't have to worry about it again unless you reconfigure SSRS.  

Q6: How is the Encryption Key backed up?
Launch SQL Reporting Services Configuration Manager and connect to the ReportServer instance hosting your MinistryPlatform reports. In the left-hand pane click Encryption Keys > click Backup > select a backup path, give the backup file a name that will be meaningful to you or someone else that may need it later, and type and confirm a file password (this assigns a password, so make sure you remember what it is).  Save this file in a location that is backed up, or save it directly to backup media (CD-R, USB drive, etc) and store in a safe place.

SSL Certificates

Q7: How often should the SSL Certificate be backed up?
Every SSL Certificate has an expiration date and must be renewed on a regular basis. Whenever you renew your SSL Certificate you should Export a copy of the certificate. Most companies that issue SSL Certificates will re-issue certificates if needed, but that process can take hours or even days, so a proper backup saves you time in case of disaster.

Q8: How is the SSL Certificate backed up?
Launch Internet Information Service (IIS) Manager on your web server, and left-click on the name of your server in the left-hand pane. In the right-hand pane double-click Server Certificates.  Find the current SSL certificate in use by MinistryPlatform. If there is more than one certificate look for the one with the latest expiration date.  Right-click the certificate and left-click Export. Select a backup location and type and confirm a file password (this assigns a password, so make sure you remember what it is). Save this file in a location that will be backed up, or save it directly to backup media (CD-R, USB drive, etc.) and store in a safe place.