You backup your business information. So what?

Dave ClarkeData stored on your PCs, laptops, servers and other backup devices is critical to your business, yet backing-up this information alone does not necessarily mean it can be restored.

When thinking about data backups two elements are key to any business no matter how large or small:

A recovery point objective is the point in time at which you must recover data for normal business operation to resume. Example: a nightly backup runs and completes OK. Towards the end of the next day your business systems crash and data must be restored from the previous night’s backup. Your RPO is therefore one day as you have deemed it acceptable to lose up to a whole day's transaction information.

A recovery time objective is the amount of time you deem acceptable for the backup data to be restored. If your RTO objective is four hours, for example, then this is the length of time you have agreed in which the restore process can happen.

However if you are serious about safeguarding your business information then realise that backing-up is only half the journey.

Recently I provided some consultancy for a local business. Top of their agenda was data safety. Their IT service provider showed me the backups logs from the server which all looked OK.

I asked when the last time a “test-restore” was performed and the room fell silent. Needless to say we did a test restore that same day and it turned out that that data being backed-up from their main CRM system database could not be restored to a usable point.

This information was the life-blood of their business and if a disaster had occurred years of customer and sales information would have been un-recoverable.

There is a general assumption that IT “stuff” just works and because there are no noises from the background everything must be OK.

However a computer will store and backup garbage just as reliably as it will store and backup usable information!

Test restores of data can uncover hardware issues too that backup software verification processes miss. Periodic test restores are a must and I advise that you schedule one in with your current IT Service provider soon.

Dave Clarke, Love IT