A backup is supposed to be a prudent way to eliminate risk of data loss, but a backup and recovery solution and, the data within, are only as good as the method that tests it. The backup process needs to be continuously tested for the thoroughness of the plans and schedule, availability of resources and reliability of the solution components. Unfortunately, most backup plans are trusted, but untested.
The time to perform a critical restore should not be the first attempt at testing the efficacy of the backup solution. Many companies assume that if a backup solution has been implemented, it’s working as advertised, but they discover too late that their backup cannot restore mission-critical data quickly and uncompromised, jeopardizing business revenue and ancillary assets such as customer loyalty and damage to the brand.
Consider the following common scenarios as you think about the backup plan you have in place.
Scenario 1 – Backup Scope Is Not Updated to Reflect Enterprise Changes
The CTO of a medium-sized enterprise was inquiring into the backup process for the company’s critical production data, such as the backup locations and schedule. The application had been in place for several years, and there had never been a need to perform a restore because of a breach or data loss. The CTO discovered that over time additional changes had been implemented to the environment as it grew, but the backup configuration was never updated to include the additionally deployed virtual servers. The data was not being backed up, and no one knew it, despite the application including customized alerting to show unprotected machines.
Veristor’s Michael J. Stolarczyk explains how significant data backup is and what a dedicated partner can and should do to prevent any issues from occurring.
Scenario 2 – Backup Status Is Not Monitored for Errors
A small to medium-sized insurance company had been running backup procedures every week the same way for several years without the need to ever restore a backup file. One day, there was a power failover and one of the production databases was corrupted. Unfortunately, the IT manager discovered that the scheduled backup procedure, although run each night, had been backing up an empty file for months. Nobody had been monitoring the system logs or alerts, which included “failed to complete” error messages. This failure resulted in a major loss of data, an undertaking to rebuild the database and costly customer churn.
Scenario 3 – Putting All of the Data Backup in One Basket
A delivery service company was hit with a hurricane that flooded the company’s main office where the production server was located. Unfortunately, the daily backups were stored at the same site as the production environment. This cost-saving approach of storing the backups locally to the production environment, rather than investing in backup located offsite, is unfortunately all too common. It caused a significant decline in business output and resulting revenue loss, and damaged the company’s reputation for being on-time and efficient.
Scenario 4 – The Cost of Backing up to the Public Cloud
A small business owner wanted to scale his business so he took advantage of a low-cost option of backing up to the public cloud with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Backups were automatic and the online dashboard was supposed to continually log the backup status. Due to an oversight in configuration, one of the company’s on-premises production server had a catastrophic disk failure. Without a failover configuration, the company needed to restore everything from the cloud backup, incurring high costs and long delays due to an inadequate internet connection. While the backup solution itself was cost-effective, the restore function was expensive and time-consuming, and not discovered until a critical outage.
Misunderstanding Your Risk Can Cause Huge Losses
No matter if your data is onsite, offsite or in a public or private cloud, you need a comprehensive backup strategy that preserves and secures the right data, in the most efficient manner. In times of crisis, from the now all-too-common security breaches caused by malware, ransomware and phishing attacks to unavoidable natural disasters, your business depends on data that is safe, secure and readily accessible – precisely when you need it.
A mistake in any backup solution, whether on-premises or in the cloud, can cost you. The most common causes of backup failure are human error, hardware failure, misconfigured software and network failure. Going with a managed backup service can eliminate common risks and fortify your company’s limited IT resources. However, not all backup services are created equal.
5 Factors that Ensure Your Backup Data is Secure and Accessible
A successful backup solution should comprise essential factors. Consider the following key elements for providing secure, backed up and accessible data:
- Which data is mission-critical? – Assessments of critical data areas need to be conducted, then the appropriate bandwidth must be determined to ensure fast restores.
- How should data be replicated? – Data must be saved securely with replication across multiple data centers to ensure a failsafe system.
- Who should monitor backups? – Backups should run continuously with trained and certified technical staff to monitor performance 24/7/365.
- How can you ensure quick response? – The use of a colocation facility can help ensure you get the data back quickly, as long as the on-premises data center and the offsite copy are far enough apart so both are not impacted by a regional outage.
- How can you validate your backup plan? – Test, test, test! Data integrity must be proven regularly as part of standard best practices.
Working with a Trusted Backup Partner
Most IT teams are busy with day-to-day tasks and rarely have an opportunity to work with and understand complex backup/restore processes. Often important tasks are delayed or skipped entirely, such as monitoring and upgrading backup plans as changes occur with enterprise environments, or testing the restore process for potential issues and delays. For this reason, it is prudent to work with a team of data experts who can advise you on the best practices that affect data backup and restore operations, such as:
- Transfer limitations and bandwidth
- Critical data priority
- Periodic testing environment
- Data security
- Custom configurations
- Restore process validation
- Known limitations of restore process (critical vs. non-critical data)
- Application Consistency
If you are evaluating your current backup system or looking for a more robust solution, don’t let outdated policies or resource limitations get in the way. Take full advantage of best-in-breed managed services that complement your existing IT resources, such as backup as a service, backup planning consulting, regular restoration testing and backup monitoring.
Learn more about Veristor’s backup managed services Here.