Disaster Recovery – Famous Last Words
“I’m sure my IT Services Provider tests our backups properly on a regular basis.”
This is critical to your Disaster Recovery program. You should confirm to be sure. Also ask for documentation whenever they occur, and what frequency they follow.
Regardless of the backup medium (tapes, NAS, external hard drive, offsite), if you don’t fully test your backups on a regular basis, you can’t be sure you can recover from a disaster. There are many factors that can cause a system restore to fail. For example:
- In order to restore your systems, you must first reinstall your backup software. Make note of where it is kept, and that it is safe from the same disaster.
- If you have to replace your backup software, be sure that a newer version is compatible with the version used with your last backup.
- If you are still using tapes for backups, your tape drive needs to be protected from the same disaster. Otherwise, you will need to have access to the same type of tape drive.
- If someone takes your backups home or to a safe deposit box, you need to be sure you can get to them quickly if needed. Make alternate plans in case the person with your backups is out-of-town for the weekend. Or the bank is closed for a 3-day weekend.
- If your backups are maintained offsite, you need to know the full process for restoring those backups. Determine if the backup service provides assistance and to what level.
“My IT guy runs our backups every day.”
If your backup system requires someone to manually kick-off the backup process, or carry the backups home, you could be at risk. Although intentions are good, sometimes conflicts arise. Important or emergency projects may arise that causes your person to skip a backup or two. After all, one day’s worth of data may not seem critical to them. Or two. Your plan should prevent someone else taking that risk with your business.
“Our tape backups have always worked fine. We don’t need to invest in newer technology.”
Whether you use tape, CDs, DVDs, or external hard drives, you obviously don’t use new media every time. You simply rewrite over a previously used one. This is normal and fine. You should determine how long it is safe to reuse the medium. Hopefully your backup system provides alerts when a backup fails. If it does, hopefully someone is able to immediately rerun the backup on good media, if they have time. Your business is too valuable to depend on chance and hope.
“We always check the backup logs to make sure the backup was successful.”
Initially, with any new backup solution, checking backup logs will be consistently performed. Day 1: Successful. Day 2: Successful. Day 3: Successful. After a few months, it begins to seem less worthwhile to take the time to check it every day. So it is checked every other day. Then once a week. Then once a month. Good habits degrade to bad. And you know that is just when a disaster occurs.
There’s a better way.
A fully automated, onsite/offsite Backup Disaster Recovery (BDR) program is becoming more affordable these days. With the cost of data storage on the decline, and greater bandwidth available, taking the human element out of the process just makes sense. Your BDR program should include redundancy at every level possible. Having the option of receiving email or text messages in the event of a failed backup provides convenience and confidence. Knowing that you can restore systems in hours, rather than days or weeks, helps you sleep at night.
Make 2015 the year that you shore up your disaster recovery plans to make sure your business is not at risk. Give us a call and we’ll show you how easy and inexpensive it can be.