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The Importance of Testing Your Backups

Most of us don’t think twice about insuring our homes and vehicles in their entirety; it’s considered part of the plan. It’s no different for your organization’s data. What value does your data truly possess if all, or even just part of it, could be gone in a flash?  We all like to think “it won’t happen to me.” But, unfortunately, that’s not the case. Disasters and mistakes happen to businesses every day, even while performing your routine backups.

It’s important to make sure that your data is fully protected at all times. You may think that your data is being backed up, but without proper testing in place, it’s hard to know if the backups are doing their job correctly.

You should think of your data backups in two different ways: backing up your data and routinely testing your backups. Creating a standardized and repeatable way to test your backups gives you the peace of mind that they will work properly when it matters. 

Data and Applications
Know Your Data and Applications

How can you determine if data was lost if you didn’t know what was there in the first place? It’s important to know where all your organization’s data and applications are stored, along with who has access to what data and how they are protected. Once you have taken an “inventory” of your data and applications, if something happens, you will be able to more quickly determine what, if any, data was lost and how to recover it much faster.

Create the Plan

The first step to any process is determining the best way to go about it. Creating a plan for testing your backups is no different. A good place to start is by documenting the method your organization will use to test backups. The goal is to test the ability to recover from the backup solution, so it’s important to plan to test the following:

  • Restoring files and folders
  • Restoring applications
  • Restoring entire servers
  • Restoring from offsite backups

Then, there are a few more questions to answer:

  • Who will be responsible for performing the tests?
  • How often will you test your backups?
  • Who will need to know about the results of the tests?

Once you’ve solidified a method for testing, it is important to document the results of each test and share the information to all relevant team members. Keep in mind that certain regulations require companies to test regularly and to maintain reports on backup testing.

Solve Problems and Evolve

Once you know where your data and applications are stored and have a proven process for testing your backups, the next step is to interpret the results of the tests and implement solutions as needed.

First, check to see if all critical data and applications were successfully restored from backups. Testing will show any weak spots in the process. If anything was missing from the backup or failed to recover, you can now plug the holes before it becomes an issue.

Next, it’s important to consider how long the backup took to recover everything. This will help you determine the potential downtime and what it may cost you if there is ever an issue.

Lastly, you’ll want to make a plan to take action on any part of the process that needs to be adjusted.

Stay Prepared

You never know when a cyber attack could hit your business. By this point, we’re all aware how important backups are in general to help preserve your data in case of an issue. However, routinely testing your backups can help you stay proactive and minimize the cost and downtime that can be associated with these attacks.

If you want to ensure your data is fully protected, contact us to schedule a consultation today. Our team of professional IT consultants has the knowledge and experience to work with you to create and implement a solid process that will ensure your backups are working properly.

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