Data Backup, Are You REALLY Doing It?

Backing up your data is one of the most important recurring task you should do. There are lots of ways to do it tape, DVD, dedicated backup file server, cloud, etc. Some are easy to do some cam be a real pain. It does not matter how you do it so long as you do it. However, if you are not doing two other actions you are not truly backing up your data.

Are you doing your backup in a manner that allows you to keep a copy off site?
Are you periodically doing a test restore to make sure the backup is really recoverable?
Off Site Backup Copies

Let’s look at a worst case situation.  There is a fire in your building and everything is destroyed.  All you computers are black chunks of melted plastic and wire.  Your DVD’s look like modern sculpture and your tapes are just a piece of solid plastic or ashes.  That’s okay you say, “I keep master copies in my fire proof safe.”  Well it took 3 hours to put everything out and cool the site down but your safe is only good for two hours.  No master copies left either.

If you had used an off site backup or had stored you masters off site you would still have your data.  You get a new location, buy new computers and restore everything.  You are back in business again.  Without the offsite recovery plan you are possibly out of business; is it worth the risk not to keep off site backups?

Testing Backups

Okay, let’s say you did everything right and have complete backups stored off site.  Your backup provider has guaranteed their backup solution so every thing is safe.  Well, just because something is guaranteed does not mean nothing will go wrong. Don’t forget Murphy is always close by.  If you don’t do a restore test periodically you are asking for trouble.  Maybe the write heads on your tape or DVD drive were out of alignment just enough to make the copies unreadable.  Or maybe you are using a cloud solution and somehow some information did not make it to the remote server correctly.  If you don’t try restoring you data on a regular basis you won’t know until it’s too late.

Now ask yourself: “Are my backups complete