When last did you test your backups?
By Jeandre de Beer
You have been working on a huge project lately – spent days and days to complete it on time. You have been doing your backups diligently every week – but, how sure are you that your backups actually work?
Maybe you have set-up an automatic scheduled backup to run each week in the background – when last have you made sure that the backups are reliable?
Do you put your full trust in the backup report that says it’s been completed successfully – or have you actually restored your data lately to make sure all is well?
If you have not done this – how well do you sleep?
How to test your backups
Verification of backups is extremely important – do whatever it takes to make sure that all your precious data is backed up and can be restored successfully. The easiest way to do this is to restore your backups and compare the amount of files and the data sizes to your live data.
This takes time and effort (and hard drive space), but this is the only way to be really sure that you are covered when disaster strikes.
How much will it cost you if your back ups fail?
Have you ever thought about the cost implications of your company not being able to work due to your network or server going down or due to the fact that you did not have reliable, up to date backups?
In these difficult economic times most people try to save money where they can. Many of us feel that backups are important – but we will do them when we get a chance.
We may also feel that we can save money by rather asking each employee to backup their own data – instead of hiring a professional to handle this important task. Just think of what the implications would be if you lost some or all of your important data?
We recently did a survey at a few of our clients to try to determine a very conservative amount that it would cost a company to be down per hour.
The direct cost of lost salaries alone was close to R 5 000 per hour. This does not even take into account money lost on sales or reputation damage.
Have you done this calculation for your company yet?
If we realise the real cost involved in not having reliable backups – the decision is an easy one to make – make use of a professional company that can take the responsibility of making regular backups AND making sure the backups are reliable.
Back up short cuts will cost you in the long run
If we do our own backups – we usually only backup the data that we feel is important. We will for instance backup our word and excel documents and maybe even our email messages, but what happens when our computer crashes?
It’s too late then to remember that we actually also needed to backup our calendar or contact list.
What about those myriad of small programs that we did not think about, or what about that one folder we saved on our desktop that we did not backup? How long will it take to install each of these programmes on your computer.
What about your company server?
What happens in the event that it crashes due to hardware failure or lightning strike or even worse – it gets stolen. Is a backup of the data only sufficient?
Even if we have a complete backup of all the data we need – the time it takes to reload the server, get the drivers installed, get the physical programs installed and set-up correctly can take days.
Now think about the cost per HOUR you are paying for lost staff in salaries alone.
Is there a better way of doing backups?
We routinely do complete image backups of our client’s servers and important desktop computers on a weekly basis. An image backup means that the complete server / desktop computer gets backed up – NOT only the data.
This means that if your company server crashes – we do not need to reinstall all the programs, set-up all the drivers, make custom modifications to programs, reinstall printers, share all the files again etc.
We just restore the image we backed up – and everything is back as it was before. This means that your users will be down for a couple of hours instead of days or weeks.
Now think about the cost per hour of being down again – Does it make sense to outsource this critical task to a professional rather than trying to do this on your own?
Have you any horror stories to tell? Please leave your comments below