The Relentless Chore of Testing your Backup

Updated: Jun 18

I am relentless. I’m always pounding people to back up. And I will continue to do so!

Because, if you care about it, then back it up!

Simple as that.

So let’s talk. (Yes, I’m talking to you, my non-technical friend.)

You’re not a techie, I get that. Can’t be bothered, I get that. Very busy, I get that. But let me just say this – you are going to be busier if you lose access to your enterprise file sharing account, or lose your laptop on the train.

Ok, so I’ve backed up my data. Will you stop nagging me now?

NO!

So I’ve lied. It’s actually not as simple as that.

Because merely backing up your data is NOT ENOUGH!

You need to test it regularly. Because if you don’t, then it is as good as not having one in the first place!

Don’t understand? Let me walk you through a little story:

You’re driving along the highway when suddenly, you hear an ominous sound coming from the rear of your car: thumpa-ta, thumpa-ta, thumpa-ta. What could it be? A bird? A barrel? An astronaut?! I’m kidding – it’s just a flat tire. Well, that’s not a problem because you remember placing a spare in your boot 3 years ago. “Let me just pull over.” But lo and behold, your emergency spare is flat too!

Familiar story?

Data Backup is Not Enough!

Similarly, your company may already have a data backup plan set in place. But there is one thing that is often overlooked even by the best decision makers or leaders – regular testing.

If I am being honest, I must admit that it is so easy to skip the testing process because of how time-consuming it is to do so. However, this is a necessary action to take in order to ensure success if and when you actually do need to retrieve your backup.

The base line is this – Every Business needs a Business Continuity Plan!

I mean, if you want to minimize loss and downtime in an event of a disaster, you need a proper plan set in place to successfully recover your company’s data fast. And if you’ve never tested your data recovery solution, I am sorry to say that there is a higher chance of it failing when you need it the most (thanks to this thing called “Murphy’s Law”).

Disaster? What Disaster?

We are fortunate.

We do not experience disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, or fires. But that doesn’t mean we do not experience disasters at all?

When it comes to losing data, there is a long list on how it can be done, including but not exclusive to:

  1. Malicious attacks

  2. Accidental deletion

  3. Bugs in your software

  4. Cloud security breach

  5. Hardware failure

  6. Human error

If one of these or another situation renders your data unusable or unreachable, your business’s fate hangs on the reliability of your backup systems.

So what can you do?

Testing your Backup is the Way to Go

At this point in time, if you are frantically searching for ways to increase the reliability and success of your data recovery solution, let me just save you the trouble by telling you point-blank that testing is the only way to go.

Imagine this scenario: one of your employees accidentally typed the wrong code and now your whole company’s system has crashed. You try to run your disaster recovery solution only to realize it can’t run because your application is 3 versions behind the latest one!

What happens next? You panic, you incur downtime, you lose potential customers, your company now flat lines, and you sourly regret not testing your disaster recovery solution regularly.

Testing your Backup isn’t a One-Time Task

Now, if you think you just need to test it once in decades, then you are poorly mistaken.

Testing your data backup solution is NOT a one-time task you do after you get your disaster recovery solution set up. It needs to be done REGULARLY!

If not, your backup data may be missing, outdated or defective when you actually do need to recover it.

Now, in a perfect world, you would run backup and recovery testing every time your system completed a backup. However, this is seldom a practical answer because ain’t nobody got time for that.

So according to the wisdom amongst IT professionals around the world, the minimum testing cycle is once per quarter.

At eVantage Technology, we think there’s no harm in