These tips were gathered from the excellent presentation made by Mr Joel Oleson (http://www.sharepointjoel.com/default.aspx).
1. Sharepoint Recycle bins
2. Sharepoint Central Website, Operations / Perform Backup
3. stsadm -o backp
4. SQL backup and restore
5. SQL clusters, database mirroring, log shipping
The key takeaway is that sharepoint relies on a lot of services to be running, and so, simply backing up the sql database would not be enough to recover a site. You will need to backup a lot of other files as well. The shortcut, just use the Sharepoint Central website’s Perform Backup to do this.