Backup Solution No Panacea Against Data Loss

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    The Seven Deadly Sins of Backup and Recovery

    A majority of businesses that have a backup solution in place still lose data, says Kroll Ontrack in a recent survey of its customers. While the company did not offer more detailed statistics or the number of organizations polled, the finding does serve as a timely reminder that data backup is not something that SMBs can afford to “set up and forget.”

    For small and mid-sized businesses keen to exercise a greater diligence on this front, the data recovery specialist sent along bullet points of the most common scenarios behind surprise data loss. I highlight some of them below.

    On-demand backup

    This is probably more prevalent among small businesses, where good intentions result in the purchase of external storage devices. Unfortunately, these external drives are typically only occasionally connected to make on-demand – or manual – data backups. As you can imagine, the lack of automation results in huge gaps in between backup copies, rendering them practically useless for meaningful disaster recovery.

    Backup software failed

    As noted earlier, data backup is hardly something that should be treated as “set up and forget” — even in situations where regular, automatic backups have been scheduled. This is because even the most robust software does fail, and it won’t do for SMBs to attempt a recovery of crucial data only to discover that the backup software has stopped working some time ago. Another related problem is that of the destination backup device running out of storage space. Depending on how things are configured, this can result in no backup being done at all, or fewer days’ worth of protection than planned for.

    Desired data not in backup

    As organizations restructure and grow, it is logical that data requiring protection invariably change too. As such, SMBs should schedule periodic system reviews to ensure that the backup regime is updated to include crucial data generated by new systems or servers.

    Failure occurred before next backup

    Unless a system failure happens immediately after a successful data backup, some amount of data is likely to be lost. This risk window is one of the scenarios that contribute to data loss for SMBs, according Kroll Ontrack. To better appreciate the problem, imagine a day’s worth of database and e-commerce transitions going missing.

    SMBs are not completely helpless here, though; real-time synchronization using software or high-end SAN storage hardware can serve to mitigate or even prevent data loss here. However, they do come with their own set of considerations; for example, the former typically entail some degradation in performance, while the latter may not always be economically feasible.

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