Disaster Recovery Mistakes: Backup Testing

When was the last time you tested your backups? We’re always hearing stats and percentages around the number of businesses not testing their backup and recovery plans – but why does it matter so much?

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

Backups should be your priority when it comes to defending your IT estate against physical disaster or security breach.

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.

A fast, secure backup solution will help prevent downtime and reduce financial impact, but only with the right processes and procedures in place.

Common Issues

Can your team actually 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.

Do you have enough space available to restore your data to?

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.

Does everyone understand who owns the recovery process?

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.

How long will it actually take to restore your data?

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 (I’ll update here when it’s live!).

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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