A city had
operated for a long time with tape backup and decided to upgrade. City
administrators heard from their IT staff that they needed something more
reliable than a manual solution reliant upon busy people to both conduct the
backup and store it offsite.
lot of money on a modern complex data backup solution, the city was assured by
its IT staff that this automated beast would solve all their problems. Indeed,
the data backup worked automatically. In a meeting, IT staff showed city department
heads the wonder of the data backup system by retrieving a few PDF documents
from the backup data storage. To city council and the public, the city
administrator proudly said they had ticked data backup off their list. Problem
One day, a
fire tragically tore through most of city hall. The building ruined, city staff
needed to relocate to a temporary building until a new city hall was built. But
thank goodness—despite all the servers destroyed—that the city could retrieve
Or not. When
IT staff attempted to restore the city’s data through its backup, most of the
major databases, applications, and data would not restore. A few chunks of
data—like some people’s individual documents—were okay. But the city’s most
important information was not there.
expensive backup solution became nearly worthless. Why? Upon further
investigation, the city administrator was told that nobody ever tested the data
backup. “But...it was an expensive solution,” the city administrator said. “And
my IT staff said that it was automated. The data backup solution’s reporting
even said it worked.”
And that’s all that mattered when the city administrator had to now explain why
this expensive investment failed them after a disaster—and failed to do the
exact thing it was supposed to do.
of data backup and disaster recovery—testing—is nearly as crucial as simply having
data backup at all. No matter what kind of data backup you use, you need to
test it. Otherwise, you don’t know that it’s working.
more closely at the errors in our city scenario above.
backup solution will often look like it’s doing its job. From manual solutions
like tape to more sophisticated automated data backup servers, the data backup
application will often indicate that the process is a success or failure. But
no matter what the application tells you, you don’t know that it works until
you test it.
Calling up a
few files such as PDFs from the data backup storage is not testing. When a
disaster hits, you will need to be fully operational with your databases,
software applications, website, email, and documents. For example, will your account
system work from a backup copy? When you test, test everything. Simulate what
would happen if an actual disaster hit.
needs to be part of your overall disaster recovery and business continuity
plan. The act of testing not only guarantees you will access the data but also
allows you to practice how data recovery will work. Who does what? How fast
will the data be restored? In what order? Where will you access the recovered
You want to
run into issues during testing and deal with them in a simulation—rather than after
a real disaster.
Uncertain about your data backup solution? Are you testing it at least quarterly? Reach out to us today.
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