What Do You Know About Your Backup?


Everyone knows that as long as you received that trusty email notification at 9pm telling you that your data is “safe” that you can now peacefully go to bed right? The answer is of course yes and no.

The reason for the limbo is because… what does that email really tell you? All it tells you in fact is that the scheduled task ran successfully, which is a good thing, right? I’ll cut the rhetorical questions and tell you that a quality backup setup has a number of very important steps. We take over clients all the time who were under the impression that all was well in the safekeeping department until they really needed it – what do you think happened then?

So lets get some very important questions on the table.

1. What type of backup are you running?

a. Local? If so then what type of media are you backing up onto?

Tape? How many tapes are in rotation? How long have they been in rotation? My old cassette of the Beatles Let it Be album is not doing so well, and I’ve probably only listened to it 40 times. Imagine how your tapes are doing if you’ve used 7 tapes for 7 years?

Hard Drive? Is it external? What are the chances that your cleaning person can leave with it and access all of your proprietary data? Oh its encrypted, I see, who knows the encryption key? Your last IT guy? The one who hasn’t returned your call in 8 months?

What happens if the place burns down? Or more likely, when your servers get hacked? Once a machine has been compromised the easiest thing for a hacker to do would be to erase your data and your backups, ever think about that? Of course you did!

b. Off-site? How many versions of your files is the backup keeping? What if you edit an Excel spreadsheet 10 times a week, would you be able to revert to the version from Wednesday morning on Friday afternoon?

The intent of the above exercise is to get you riled up. To get you opening your Outlook and emailing your IT guy right now asking him all of the above questions and not taking his word for it!

Here’s our tip, trust no one, its your business – you should be the only person who you can trust on a topic as important as the security and integrity of your data.

Consider this: Implement a monthly test restore policy, its easy! Provide a written request to your IT Department/Team/Guy/Wife’s Nephew saying you would like a monthly test restore of an arbitrary date of an arbitrary employee’s files (you choose!). After your vendor has a mild heart attach and restores the data, have that trusty employee check the data that they are keenly familiar with and work on every day. Sign off on it and you’re set.

Now think about how good you’re going to feel when that email alert comes in saying backup’s done!

Just a friendly tip from your friends at TTIG