There’s No Point in Backing Up Your Data if You Don’t Test Your Backup

September 4th, 2014

Owning and running a business means that you have to be good at making and implementing plans. Every business owner has this skill, but there's one aspect of planning that often gets overlooked--testing. It's easy to skip testing because of the amount of time it takes, but it's necessary to ensure success. The clearest picture of this is with data recovery.

Every organization must have a business continuity plan, and the recovering of your company's data in the event of a data-loss event is crucial to minimizing loss and keeping operations going. When an event causing data loss strikes, you immediately fall back on your well-thought-out business continuity plan to recover your files and get everybody back to work. If you've never tested your data recovery solution, then you're at a higher chance of having it fail when you need it the most.

Testing is the only way to make absolutely certain that your DR solution will be functional when you enact it. In an interview with Processor magazine, Adrian Sanabria, senior security analyst of 451 Research, gave an example of a common data recovery scenario gone wrong due to the lack of testing. "It's no good to switch over to disaster recovery (DR) and find that your Tier 0 application won't run because the DR environment is three releases behind. If DR will be expected to support a full production load, plan it as such."

Testing your data backup solution isn't a one-time task you do after it's set up; it needs to be done regularly. The prevailing wisdom among IT professionals points to a complete testing of your DR systems once per quarter. At MTG, we think there's no harm in testing more often than this. Better safe than sorry!

It may sound like a lot of work to add another task to your day for backup testing, especially if you're a large company that's spread out over multiple locations. In fact, if your business uses tape backup, it could take up to 40 hours to truly test the integrity of your data. However, there's no good excuse to put off testing. For example, if you have a large and spread out system, consider using a structured plan to test portions of your system one at a time.

Another approach that your business can take for DR testing is to periodically run your entire business off of your DR solution. By far, this is the best way to assure everyone that your solution can handle a disaster. Sanabria tells Processor of a major retail company that tested their data backup systems this way:

They'd actually switch production over to DR once every three months and run the DR environment as production for a full week before switching back. The first few tests were difficult, but the outcome was worth the dedication, because they never worry about whether their DR environment will work.

We can talk all day about the importance of testing your company's backup solution, but the bottom line is that it will only get done if the powers that be in your organization value testing and are intent on doing it. If adding another responsibility like this on your plate seems too burdensome, then make sure it still gets done by outsourcing backup testing to MTG. With our Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) solution, we oversee your company's data backup process and test the solution regularly to make sure that your business will be prepared to handle the worst.

Our BDR solution is customized to meet the unique data needs of your company, and we offer a variety of BDR units to handle a business of any size. The heart and soul of your company's business continuity plan revolves around your data, and BDR is the ultimate and comprehensive solution that backs up, protects, and even tests its data recovery capability. Call us at (215) 247-8324 to equip your business with BDR and never again second guess if your company would be able to survive a disaster!