Geeks2U Promise
We guarantee you'll love our fast, friendly service - or we'll refund your money.  
133,572 Happy Customers & Counting
Need tech support?
1300 769 448
Extended hours, 7 days a week
Home  /  geekspeak  /  When was the last time you tested your backups?

When was the last time you tested your backups?

Backup with Magnifier

Don’t wait until your business suffers a disaster to discover that your backup files are useless. If you don’t make regular backups of your critical data then you could be out of business at any moment.

Forget fire, flood and theft, something as simple as a power surge or burst water pipe could wipe out your computers and onsite server room. Some businesses never open their doors again after a catastrophic data loss.

These days most businesses appreciate the need to protect their important data, such as financial records. It’s vital that you regularly test the integrity of your backups and the restoration process to ensure that everything runs smoothly in the event of an emergency.

You also need to keep offsite backups as an insurance policy, lest fire destroy your entire building.

Missing or corrupt backup files are one of the main culprits when it comes to failed disaster recovery.

You need to regularly check that your backup system is running smoothly. For example, some Network Attached Storage drives don’t automatically reboot after a power outage, so if there’s a blackout and you forget to turn on the NAS again then your backups won’t run. Alternatively a corrupt hard drive or networking error could stop your backups from running.

If you’re backing up to the cloud, networking errors can also cause trouble. Meanwhile if your account hasn’t been paid, perhaps due to something simple like a billing error or banking screw up, then your backups might not be running as they should be. Alternatively your backups might stop running if you exceed your data storage limit.

Whether you’re backing up to tape, disc, removable storage or the cloud, it’s important to regularly test the integrity of those backup files. They might look fine at a glance. You need to recreate the entire disaster recovery process, on a separate computer, to ensure that you can get the business up and running again from those backup files.

You should test your backup system after any major software upgrade. It’s possible that the new version of your accounting software can’t restore from old backups, in which case you’ll need to look for conversion tools (and test them thoroughly) or else back up everything again.

If the new version of the software stores your data in a different format, or saves that data in a different location on your computer, then you might need to adjust your backup systems to allow for this.

If your computers are lost to a disaster and you need to rebuild from scratch, you probably won’t be able to access your accounting data until you install your accounting software on a new computer.

Make sure you allow for this in your disaster recovery plan. Ensure you have copies of installer discs and licence keys at hand (stored safely offsite) so you can get up and running again. It’s worth reading the fine print in the licensing agreement to see what your rights are in terms of installing your software on multiple computers.

When preparing for a disaster you also need to plan for the fact that your regular IT staff might not be available to assist. Make sure the passwords to your cloud storage service and/or encrypted backups aren’t lost in the disaster. Some cloud storage services let you specify your own encryption key, so not even they can read your data. While this sounds tempting from a security perspective, is the thought of losing all that data worse than the thought of it falling into the wrong hands?

A thorough backup regime isn’t a set ‘n’ forget process. Your disaster recovery efforts could become yet another disaster if you don’t regularly check that your backup system is running smoothly.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

About Author

David Hancock

David Hancock is the founder and managing director of Geeks2U, a national on-site computer repair and support company.

Recent News

fb

Facebook is a service beloved by many, because it makes it so very easy to keep in touch with friends, family, acquaintances and more in an environment that’s generally easy to use and that can be quite fun. It’s one of the world’s busiest web sites, and one of the tech world’s most valuable companies…. More 

browsers

The chances are good that when you browse the web, you’re doing so via Google’s own particular browser, Google Chrome. Chrome has anywhere between 47% to 60% of the browser market sewn up. That might not seem that impressive, but the next largest market share is usually given to Apple’s Safari browser at between 13%… More 

mackeyboarda

Apple sells itself as a premium brand, both in style terms, but also for the quality of the computing equipment it sells. That’s a proposition that can very much become quasi-religious for some folks, although few would suggest that Apple sells bad computing equipment. Wherever you sit on that spectrum, there’s no doubting that consumers… More 

wallpapers

There’s a quick and easy way to make your computer your very own, as well as brightening it up and providing you inspiration every time you sit down in front of it. There are millions of computers worldwide, but it’s pretty likely that only one — or a handful — are yours. One of the… More