What if I have never tested my backup and disaster recovery solution?

How much would it cost your company to stop working for one day? What about one week?

As humans, our time is easily the most important commodity we have, and until someone figures out how the flux capacitor works, we will continue to live our lives against Father Time.

When explaining the magnitude of data loss to business owners, I typically ask if they have monetized a day of downtime for their company. The typical responses are that it would be expensive, or worse, they haven’t even thought about it!

What if I asked you, “When is the last time you tested your data backups at the office?”

If you are not testing data backups, then, you have no idea what will happen if you have to call upon the backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solution currently in place for your business. This video might help you understand what happens when data backup systems aren't regularly tested.

What is a Good Data Backup and Disaster Recovery Solution?

Basically, a trusted BDR solution is the closest thing to owning a DeLorean with a working flux capacitor. It allows us to go back in time as needed to retrieve files. A great data backup and disaster recovery solution can help any business owner sleep better knowing that their files are safe and they can avoid catastrophic data loss.

In this post, our data backup experts have put together some information to help business owners and managers understand the importance of both having a great backup and recovery plan and testing that solution before it's time to actually use it.

1. Know the Type of Backup and Disaster Recovery Solution You Have

There are two types of data backups: file-based and image-based solutions. These solutions are very different!

A file-based backup solution frequently backs up and stores files only from software and applications. If the server goes down, the IT resource will need to perform tasks to get the software and applications running on the server before the files that were backed up can be accessed and utilized.

This process can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Even though having a file-based setup is better than not having a backup solution at all, how much downtime can you truly afford?

An image-based backup solution also frequently backs up and stores files from software and applications. However, it also stores copies of the applications and software so users can still access and utilize the files while the IT resource works on repairing the issue.

This backup and recovery solution saves time for the users as they do not have to wait until everything is fully repaired. These files can usually be accessed and used within minutes of an issue. This type of backup solution can save your company time and money. [For an in-depth look at file-based and image-based data backups, read Adam Blankenship's blog:Evaluating Backup and Disaster Recovery Amidst Storm Season]

“But what if I have tape backup?”

Tape is no longer a viable option for backing up your business information. Tape data backups require manual assistance, and therefore increase the risk of lost or damaged backups. If you think about the importance of the information you save and backup daily, then it is easy to understand why it is not worth the risk. If you still aren’t convinced, let me provide you with some statistics:

  • 31% of PC users have lost all of their files due to events beyond their control.
  • 4% of companies that have tape data backups fail to test their backups; and of those that do, 77% have found tape backup failures.
  • Most alarmingly, 60% of companies who lose their data in a disaster will shut down within six months of that disaster.

So, I ask again, can your company afford downtime? If the answer is no, ensure that you have the proper backup and disaster recovery solution in place.

2. Understand That Data Backups Can Fail

Backups can and do fail sometimes. This is why monitoring your data backup solution is extremely important, and should be done regularly.

When a data backup and disaster recovery solution fails or becomes corrupt, it affects your backups from that point forward. Testing will help ensure that the information can be pulled from the backup when needed. It also provides you with confidence in your backup solution when it's used regularly. 

If you find issues when testing your backup system, you have the opportunity to step back and fix the problem before you lose data forever.

3. Know the Cost of Downtime

I know I’ve already mentioned this, but you really do need to know what it will cost should you lose a day or more of work time due to disaster and data loss. Fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and thieves do happen, and the value of having a reliable backup and disaster recovery solution in place can not only provide peace of mind, but also save your business time which translates to money!

By understanding the ultimate cost of any potential downtime, you can work to implement a backup system that best aligns with your company’s needs. Additionally, you can fully understand the need to check your data backup and disaster recovery solution regularly to avoid downtime costs.

It should now be obvious that data loss and time loss are one in the same. Once data is gone, it’s gone forever. So unless you’ve created your own working flux capacitor, test your data backup solution regularly to ensure that it is functioning in line with your expectations, because otherwise you could be the unfortunate guy in the video.

If you need help testing your backup or implementing a solution, our data backup and disaster recovery team is here for you.


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Posted by Jason Smith at 6:00 AM