When Was The Last Time You Tested Your Data Backup Systems?
Significant data loss can become the beginning of your company’s end. According to a study conducted at the University of Texas, 94% of companies that experience a major data loss go out of business.
While many businesses understand the importance of data backup, only a small percentage of them ensure its integrity.
When was the last time you tested your data backup systems? If you don’t know the date, it’s time to rethink your backup maintenance efforts. Many companies work for years, believing that their backup is in top shape. However, without proper testing, the system could be long dead.
Let’s take a closer look at the importance of regular data backup system checks.
Why is Data Backup Testing Important?
Backups can only protect your business if they stay intact. Setting them up and hoping they will work forever is a losing strategy. Here are a few important statistics:
- 77% of those companies who do test their tape backups found backup failures.
- In 40% of cases, hardware failure is the reason for data loss.
- The average cost of network downtime for businesses is $300,000 per hour.
It’s also worth noting that human error can be the cause of data loss in 29% of cases. That’s why besides testing your backup systems, it’s imperative to make sure that your employees understand the importance of maintaining data safety.
Your IT service provider can consult your team about the importance of data integrity, safety, and backup. Additionally, they should know what steps to take in case data security is compromised.
Key reasons to perform data backup testing include:
- Backups can help protect your business in case it suffers due to a cyberattack or a natural disaster.
- High-quality data backups can help you avoid downtime and maintain a stellar reputation.
- Testing is the only way to determine whether your data backup efforts are effective.
In the 21st century, even the smallest business has to work with vast amounts of data. Backing it up is vital to its survival.
Colonial Pipeline: Example of Proper Data Backup Testing
Just recently (on May 6, 2021), Colonial Pipeline, one of the largest gasoline pipeline operators in the United States, suffered a major ransomware attack that caused significant downtime. Even though the company paid the ransom, the decryption software provided by cybercriminals was extremely slow.
The only reason Colonial Pipeline managed to minimize downtime is its strong data backup. Otherwise, it would have taken weeks for the decryption software to restore the data.
Who is Responsible for Data Backup and Recovery Testing?
Your IT department should work out a data backup testing schedule suitable for your business. If such a schedule doesn’t exist, you need to rethink your IT efforts.
Many business owners outsource data backup services to managed IT service providers. These companies work out high-quality data backup systems and test them regularly.
How Often Should You Test Your Data Backup Systems?
The frequency of data backup testing is individual for every business. The key is regularity. Meanwhile, your data backup testing should be aligned with the frequency of data backup.
The most popular backup checking intervals are 14 days and a month. If you are working with highly volatile data, you may want to check backups more often.
Reasons to check your data backup out of schedule include:
- Your app is updated, patched, upgraded.
- The amount of data processed daily changes drastically.
- You start using a new app.
Testing data backup can also give you an idea of the recovery timeline. For companies that work with a lot of data, recovery may take days. You have to be ready for downtime in case you experience a major data loss.
Complete Failure Simulation
If you want to have a full picture of how well your data backup is working, consider simulating a full failure situation at least once a year. This can will help you gain insight into:
- How well your data backup system is working.
- How long it takes to recover your data.
- If there are any misconfigurations in the backup software.
- What problems arise during the recovery process.
While a complete data failure simulation may be time-consuming, it’s the best way to test your data backup in action. Your IT service provider can schedule these simulations without causing any downtime for your business.
Do You Need to Test Your Disaster Recovery Plan?
Just like data backup, a solid disaster recovery plan is the key to keeping your company afloat even when a disaster strikes. Be it a ransomware attack or a natural disaster, your business needs to be fully prepared to deal with the consequences.
According to National Archives & Records Administration in Washington, 93% of companies that lose their computer systems for 10 days or longer due to a disaster file for bankruptcy within one year after it occurs.
To make sure your disaster recovery plan works as expected, you need to test it regularly. Different testing methodologies exist, including:
- Verbal walk-through.
- Disaster simulation (without interrupting day-to-day operations).
- In-depth disaster simulation (may interrupt operations).
- Sandbox (using virtual equipment to test the plan).
Your IT service provider must be in charge of the disaster recovery plan and its regular testing. Otherwise, your company may face irreversible consequences.
The frequency of disaster recovery plan testing should be determined with your company’s needs in mind. Usually, it’s performed twice a year.
Keeping Your Data Safe with Realized Solutions
Backing your data up isn’t enough to keep it safe. To make sure your business stays afloat in case a disaster strikes, you need to test your data backup systems regularly. No matter how stellar your backup is, it needs high-quality maintenance.
At Realized Solutions, we offer comprehensive managed IT services that include data backup setup, disaster recovery planning, and backup testing. If you’d like to learn more about these services, contact our team at any convenient time.