Disaster Recovery Mistakes: Backup Testing

When was the last time you tested your backups?

Data loss can happen for many reasons – ransomware, system malfunctions, fire(!) or simply user error.

Loss of data and servers is a huge disruptor and can cost millions in downtime and lost revenue – and backups that are not tested regularly can mean huge risk.

Backups prevent downtime and reduce costs, but only with the right processes in place.

What Should You Be Looking For?

1. Do you know how to restore the data? 

…And more importantly, is it the right data?

Does the documentation/process make sense and can your team actually recover the data and servers required to get the business back up and running as fast as possible?

Often servers are backed up but not all drives are selected, meaning not all data is restored – likewise newer servers may not have been backed up at all.

2. Do you have enough space?

This is always an unexpected one!

Often teams may need to restore data to a secondary location to avoid exposing the data to existing vulnerabilities or overwriting the infected isolated data.

Testing allows you to understand how much space you need, the processes required and how teams would need to react in similar scenarios.

3. Who owns the recovery process?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told that no one knows who is in charge of backups!

It’s important that someone has ownership over the recovery process, and the team knows who to look to for guidance on the process. 

Likewise if they need to deviate from the process or a problem arises, it’s vital that teams know who to turn to when a decision needs to be made.

4. How quickly can you restore your data?

And how quickly will you need it? Answering this question could save some budget.

Depending on your organisation’s needs, data may be stored differently or in different locations.

Data that is vital to the day-to-day running of the business may be backed up to the cloud, making it easier and potentially quicker to restore. Data that is archived or not immediately business critical may be backed up to tape to reduce costs, however would perhaps need more time to be restored.

It’s important that you understand where your data is stored and how quickly it needs to be made accessible in various scenarios, so you can manage business costs and expectations.

What’s Next?

Now you might be asking – how do I get started with regular backup and recovery testing? How often do I need to test and check my backup and recovery processes, and what do I need to look out for? What does it involve?

Don’t worry, I’ll be covering this in my next blog.

In the meantime, check out our previous webinar below – I’m joined by security expert (and also big fan of testing backups) Kevin Green to talk all things data protection and backups.

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