Did you know today is World Backup Day? If not, don’t feel bad. I found out only a couple of days ago.
However, I think that today is as good a day as any to focus on the importance of backing up data. If your network or individual computers were hit with malware today, how confident are you that you would be able to retrieve all (or most) of the files that were lost or corrupted? If a computer downloaded ransomware and all of the data was held hostage, would you feel confident that you had a solid backup system?
A second integral part of a good backup strategy includes testing the backup procedure to make sure it is working. The company Backup My Info! (BUMI) conducted a survey that found that less than half of respondents (44 percent) checked client backups daily for errors, 15 percent checked weekly, 21 percent checked monthly and 8 percent checked annually. An astounding 13 percent never check client backups for errors at all. The loss of data is more than a nuisance to deal with; it could mean the death of your business.
Cloud backup company Intronis came up with a clever way to get people thinking about the dangers to their data and the importance of backing up the network with its Data Loss Gremlins Campaign. Each gremlin represents a way that data is lost, including outside sources; natural disasters; and carelessness, such as a spilled cup of coffee. (Now I’m looking at my cup of coffee sitting next to my keyboard and wondering if I should move it.)
If Gremlins aren’t your thing, Jennifer Walzer, BUMI’s CEO, sent me a list of tips that can help companies of any size along the road to better backup practices:
- Develop a backup and recovery plan: Create a formal document for your data backup and recovery strategy. The plan must include the respective applications and versions that are currently installed. Keeping this document updated as technology infrastructure changes is key. Physical and electronic copies of the document should be stored off-site in the event your organization’s physical location is impacted by disaster.
- Determine your RTO (recovery time objective): After a disaster strikes, most businesses do not need every application up and running immediately. Determining the cost of downtime will help identify the RTO (recovery time objective) and the appropriate systems and processes needed to become operational. Each business has its own calculation for downtime and should build this into their backup and recovery budget.
- Test your plan: Run disaster recovery drills on a monthly or quarterly basis to familiarize yourself with the process. It is much easier to find out if something is not working during a test scenario than after an actual disaster.