In this episode of The Power Up Project, we cover:

〉Testing your backups.

〉How to make sure you can restore your business after a power outage?

〉How important ensuring an effective data backup is.




In this episode of The Power Up Project we talk about testing your backups.

Welcome back to The Power Up Project. I’m your host, Ben Dampney, and today we’re going to power up your business by making sure you test your backups, or perhaps that should be making sure you can restore your business in the event it powers down.

So you have backups right? We certainly hope so. Now, we consider data backed up when we’ve used the three-two-one method. That’s three copies of any piece of data, be it a Word document, picture file, email, et cetera, and that’s stored on two different types of media. For example, on a network share and also on a USB hard drive. Now one of these backups must be at a location where the data is not usually stored, so a great example offsite, at your house or maybe in a cloud service.

Now, what types of data should be backed up? Typically, your onsite data, such as your My Documents folder, server file shares, maybe your application database and also cloud services, such as Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, G Suite, and also your financial packages, such as Xero, MYOB, Reckon, et cetera.

Now, presumably you get reports that the backups are completing okay, or perhaps your IT provider get these alerts and lets you know if there’s an issue. But more importantly than that is, are the backups tested? Now, it’s critical not just to complete a backup but to actually test them. Imagine the feeling that someone has when a critical file is deleted. You might think to yourself, “Okay, well, it’s not a problem, we have backups. We can go and restore the file.” Yet, when you attempt to recover the file, the restore process fails. Depending on the file, you may be able to recreate it or maybe not. If it’s a very large spreadsheet with lots of details about a supplier for example, that could be very difficult to restore or recover or reenter.

Even worse than that, if a CryptoLocker attack on your network encrypts all your files so you cannot access them, that’s really disastrous if you can’t get a recoverable backup, say if it’s a few months old since it was last functionally working for you. According to a major antivirus vendor, one in five small businesses that get affected by CryptoLocker go out of business. Most businesses can recover from data loss for a certain period. For some, it might be a couple of hours. For others, a few days. So I’d like you to take the time to think about any particular system or file in your business, what sort of window could you recover or restore or recreate, and how you might go about doing that.

Testing your backups can mean exploring a backup and restoring a single file, but it can also mean a full disaster recovery test, restoring servers, databases and applications to a test environment to make sure that we can functionally get it working for you. And, I guess, how often is regularly, is a pretty flexible question. It really depends on how you are testing. If you’re manually testing, then exploring a backup might occur once a month. But for a full disaster recovery, maybe it’s every three to six months. However, some of the products that we recommend, such as StorageCraft and Datto, can actually automate the testing of your backups and some of these are done daily. It certainly helps us, as IT providers, sleep at night.

Most importantly, I think it’s critical for managers and business owners to understand where their backups are stored, how often they are being tested, and what timeframe recovery is likely to be. Testing can obviously help you with this understanding. So as part of any good disaster recovery and business continuity plan, you should have an understanding of the process, and whilst you can rely on a good IT provider to assist you, ultimately these plans need your active engagement and ownership, and regular testing. So for my sanity and yours, please, review your backup testing procedures, make sure someone is actually doing it, and look at it today.

Thanks for listening to this episode of The Power Up Project, brought to you by Grassroots IT and Digit IT. Please, leave us a review wherever you get your podcasts, and until next time, keep powering up.

Let's continue the conversation! Leave a comment below.