Will your Backup protect you?
We got a 911 call last week that compelled me to write this. You know the drill: something is not working, severe shutdown and we had to jump!
They referenced it as a disaster as it was disrupting their ability to run their business, so in other words they were looking for “Disaster Recovery” – where downtime and stress kicks in due to improper backup, documentation and a lack of understanding of the recovery process at a critical time.
Did you know that Disaster Recovery is more than data recovery from floods, hurricanes or fires? The most common problems associated with data loss revolves around Human Errors and Mechanical Malfunctions – and in my view, this happens way too often.
That call came from an established SMB owner who I highly respect and in my view, runs a good business, has great products, excellent customer service and is very business savvy. He also cares about his employees, as everyone is treated like family. I found it odd when we got the call because I realized that more care should have been placed surrounding their data, or in other words, I felt that the data was somewhat neglected. This happens too often, but here was call that I would have bet would never happened – with this firm!
Let me explain.
Do you backup your data?
I bet you answered “yes”. You either back it up yourself, have an assigned individual (or maybe an IT team), or you outsourced to a 3rd party.
Where is the backup maintained?
Is it offsite? In the cloud? On tape? Or you simply don’t know? The bottom line – can you easily get access to it, if you need it in an emergency? For example, if the tapes are stored at a designate’s residence, can you get access to them – on a timely basis, at all times?
What is on the Backup?
Just because you maintain a backup, doesn’t necessarily mean you are protected from a data loss. Are you backing up a server, image or simply files? In the event of a total server loss, how effective is the backup?
How quickly can you recover?
Say, you lose a file – how quickly can you recover it. If you lost your server, can you recover in minutes, hours or days? What happens to your business when downtime becomes excessive? And similarly – what happens to your customers, customers – if they are affected by your downtime? Ensure that you have a full understanding of the recovery times and if outsourced, what are they and do they test for compliance?
When a data fault occurs, who takes ownership for the recovery and do you have a “Game Plan” in terms of processes, procedures or “Hope to God” that it works?
So back to my question again. YES, you maintain a data backup. Not having a proper recovery “Game Plan” is where the problem lies. Without this, you are at risk and I see this time and time again. Mistakes and pitfalls prevail when organizations backup their data and yet never TEST it for recovery purposes.
If your backup is maintained by a 3rd party for example, what recovery assurances do you have if you lose your server, and more importantly how long will it take to recover. What happens if it occurs at 11am or 11pm? Will there be any additional charges? Yes, look into that now, before they “Get You”! Regardless of where you back up, how do you retrieve it so that you have what you had before? Herein lies the problem, executing a backup is the easy part. The recovery is challenging for the unprepared.
So at a minimum;
- Test your backup in simulated (Lab) production environment
- Test for errors and completeness
- Test periodically or at least quarterly, as your environment may change
- Create a process document, so you have a full understanding of the required tasks
- Communicate the plan
The benchmark for data recovery is TESTING! If you don’t have the time, resources or proper (outsourced) provider, you might be at risk.
If you’re unsure about your backup or how to properly test it,
find out if you qualify for a complementary assessment.
Don’t assume you have a backup…..unless it is has been fully tested, as a recovery process!