7 Reasons Why Testing Backups Is Critical

One of the oldest clichés in the data protection world is the fact that 9-in-10 companies will fail after a major data loss incident. And this should not be surprising to anyone.

Given how critical digital information has become to the daily operations of our businesses, it’s still astounding to see how many organizations still don’t have a process in place for the regular testing of their backups.

How can this be?

Many companies dimply don’t feel that testing is a necessity, or simply aren’t aware of everything that can go wrong when recovering emergency backups.

That’s why we’ve put together a short list of key reasons why your organization should consider testing your backups on a regular basis.

Reason 1: Hardware Failure

When you think about failed backups, this should be the first scenario that comes to mind.

Given enough time, any tape, hard drive, flash drive or other physical device will eventually break down.

Reason 2: Human Error

Since the responsibility for backing up data – arguably the most important security-related task within your company – is usually assigned to the most junior employee, there is a lot of room for human error. At most companies, the backup administrator is somebody with little or no IT training. So when you need to make an emergency recovery, there’s a chance that your backups might’ve never been properly processed in the first place.

Reason 3: Physical Security

Many companies keep their backups on-site at the same location as the primary production server. This not only leaves them open to theft (backup tapes are very prized amongst hackers) and also leaves them at risk of destruction if the primary location is destroyed. (flood, fire, etc…)

You need to ensure that you have at least 2 copies of your data, stored at long physical distances from each other, and that this data can be quickly obtained in an emergency.

Reason 4: Technology Change

Your IT infrastructure is constantly in a state of change. New servers are being added, modified, moved and removed… and your backup and recovery process has to take these changes into account. Nothing could be more devastating than adding a new critical database to the datacenter, but forgetting to notify the backup administrator. This is particularly common with companies that manage private clouds of in-house virtualized servers.

It’s also important to make sure that your backups are reverse-compatible. Imagine having to restore a file, but being unable to locate the legacy program on which is was created.

Reason 5: Cost

By testing your backups frequently, you’ll also find new ways to save on storage costs while refining the speed and consistency of your backup process. This is an immediate benefit that puts money in your pocket.

Reason 6: Restore Speeds

Now that the world is moving towards a twenty-four-hour business trend, downtime the costs associated with downtime have skyrocketed. If your server goes down for just one or 2 hours, Twitter and Facebook will spread the message, and your reputation will be hurt.

Testing helps you identify your most critical systems, and set priorities for their continuity and recovery.

Also, practice helps ensure that everyone knows their role during the emergency. A time of panic is no time to come up with improvised solutions.

Reason 7: Learning

Every recovery is slightly different from the last. When you test your backup recovery process, you’ll learn new things about your IT infrastructure that can help you reduce backup and storage costs, improve overall security, and improve backup and recovery speeds.

What if your servers crashed, and your IT guy had quit 6 months ago? These drills also give you an opportunity to share emergency recovery knowledge with others in the company. That way, your survival doesn’t need to be in the hands of any single person.

About The Author: Zetta’s online server backup solution is among the fastest and most secure on the market. A free trial is available so you can try it in your environment.