Dean Herr

How reliable are your data backups?

A Look into Data Backups and Recovery Strategies

Are your data backups all that you have imaged and are they ready for you in case of a catastrophic loss? What is your protocol for insuring that the backups are in fact ready for use? How many daily backups do you require and can your backup/recovery system handle multiple daily data backups? These are only some of the questions you need to consider before you can put a solid backup plan in place.


Before we all have seemingly moved our critical data to the cloud, life surrounding your daily data backups seemed to be more arduous. Think about it, every day came with the realization that you needed to find your way down to the server room and change out the backup media. It also involved knowing the age of that backup media and how often you needed to de-commission that media.  The good thing about all of this manual labor is that it made you think about (even if only for a brief moment) your backup schedule.

We have now been reduced to those daily emails that basically say “your backup has been completed” and take that as our gospel!

So here is my question, is it safe to assume that our data backups have in fact been completed AND are they ready for prime-time if needed? Most “big box” cloud data backup systems do exactly what you program them to do and I would venture a guess that most of us leave it to blind faith that those daily emails are in fact correct. I say that you are playing with fire. Take it from someone who knows all too well that if the files are in fact being backed up, in many instances are not ready to be recovered. Once a month take the time to attempt to recover a sampling of your data backups. I know that for a relatively small amount of money (well spent I might add) we were able to replicate our back-end systems to mirror our daily activities. It is in this environment that we test our data backups. With small amounts of time and resources, we can remain 100% confident that in the unlikely event of catastrophe our systems can be back online within 1 hour. Remember the monthly fire drills in school?  They serve a purpose and that purpose is to always be prepared and have a plan in case of an emergency! Same concept should be applied to your data backup strategy. Always remember that the time to actually discover that your backups are not all they could be is BEFORE discover that you need them!

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

Keeping multiple sets or restore points per day is another safe bet when it comes to a data backup routine. Think about how many transactions to your data that you process in any given day. Would it be prudent to think that a daily backup sometime in the overnight should suffice? What if you had a loss at noon on Tuesday and the most recent scheduled backup was performed at 1AM the day before? Could you sustain an entire half of a day of data loss? What would it take to re-enter that data (even if that was possible)? We had a client that ended their day at 5PM and the next scheduled backup was due to commence at midnight, sometime between 5PM and midnight a fire broke out! They lost an entire day! Besides not having multiple points of recovery, my question is if you stop processing data at 5PM why-oh-why did you not have a scheduled backup for 5:01PM?

With so many variables in obtaining a quality data backup scheme, it is always advised that you seek the advice of a professional. Yes, it might cost a few extra dollars to have initially setup and maybe even monitored, but I’ll ask again: “How much is the data worth in a catastrophic loss and how quickly can it be recovered” so you may resume normal operations. In most cases 1 day of lost revenue will more than cover the fee.

If you would like more information or need to implement a new data backup strategy please contact me today! The longer you wait the more you risk! Advice is always FREE.

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