Preventing Data Loss (Hint: Not as hard as you think)

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Preventing data loss isn’t as hard as you think so are you ready for the panacea? Wait for it… check your backups!Preventing Data Loss

Who knew? Regular checks of backup success (along with frequent test restores) is pretty much the easiest way to ensure you actually have some 1′s and 0′s to restore.

A recent survey on preventing data loss conducted in New York showed some remarkable (but somehow not all that surprising) statistic about backups and the frequency of which they are checked (or not). I figure that just because we are on opposite sides of the continent doesn’t mean the survey is any less valid. Human nature is human nature… The facts:

  • Checked Daily – 52%
  • Checked Weekly – 14%
  • Never – 9%

While it is encouraging that 52% of the respondents were checking daily, fully half the companies surveyed don’t check regularly and almost 10% never check at all! Really? Not at all?!?! Wish I slept that well… Without knowing you have a decent backup, you run the very real risk of losing some or all of your data – not to mention the server(s) configuration, the application configuration (i.e. Exchange, SQL, etc.), the user rights, printing, ad nauseum… Actually, in our experience, those customers who DO NOT use our services generally use the fact of whether or not the tape was ejected as their indicator of successful backups; barely better than checking at all really. (For the record – those who do use our services don’t need to check their backups. Why? Because we do it for ‘em, of course!)

Preventing Data LossIn terms of recovery time required after catastrophic failure, survey respondents reckon that 4 hours is acceptable in the case of critical data and 24 hours for non-critical. But if you are in the roughly 50% who don’t check their backups regularly, I wish you luck because you are going to need a full complement of voodoo sticks, rubber chickens and holy water to reach that goal. Oh, and BTW, have you ever tried to restore 2TB of data in four hours? Again with the voodoo sticks, rubber chickens, etc… The reality is, many companies are ill equipped to handle a massive data loss and if you aren’t preventing data loss by checking your backups daily, they you have missed the single most important piece of the disaster recovery process and your expectations of time to recovery are based on a wing and a prayer instead of tried and true methodology. Simply stated: it ain’t gonna happen, Sunshine!

So… what to do… Get with the program, be a part of the upper 50 percentile and check your backups regularly! Better yet, leave it to the pros and get on back to work. Syncronet will not only check your backups daily, we also do regular test restores because anyone can backup data; the real trick comes when you actually need to restore data. And, managed services providers (like Syncronet) can show you a ton of other ways to shore up against data loss. Things like, disk-to-disk backups, offsite backups and instant recovery on demand are just a couple of the options available.

Stop leaving it to chance – there is a reason for the double-zeroes on the roulette wheel. Sometimes it lands there.