Data Backup Is Not Data Recovery

Computer General Hardware Software

When it comes to protecting the data of your company, it is important to understand that data backups is not the same thing as disaster recovery. For a start, backups are not foolproof. The backup software itself can fail, or those responsible for it can make a mistake.

Also, you should always backup with a recovery plan in mind should the worst happen. Let’s take this in stages, starting with the software.

There is no guarantee with backup software

You know those backups you’ve been using for the last five years? How often do you test them? 34% of all companies will never test their tape backups. In the cases of those who do test, a staggering 77% find that their tapes have errors or have become corrupted. Too much reliance is placed on automated backup systems, and not just tape based either.

Let’s say your data got backed up properly, what about the encryption password? We aren’t supposed to write these things down, but what happens when nobody in the building is able to remember an important one? Whatever the reason for forgetting the password, there are few things more painful than being locked out of your own data when you really need it.

You have to backup your data with recovery firmly in mind

When we backup data, we are not just preserving it for posterity or stowing it away in the attic for the sake of it. Backup with a view that you will one day need to get it back again. This is a fundamental flaw that many companies make; they simply backup and forget.

Backup your data in a meaningful way, and one that isn’t going to take an age to complete. If the worst should happen and you can’t get into your backup, you should hope that your disaster data recovery centre or your recovery plan is up to scratch.


The backup of your data is only the start

Creating a secure copy of your data, backed up offsite is only the first step in disaster recovery. The next step, is making sure that you have the right recovery systems in place and connected to your data. What does this mean? It means having the right:

  • Servers
  • Storage
  • Operating systems

All within your recovery environment. This recovery environment needs to be a reflection of your production environment – which is not easy. There are a lot things going on, lots of small changes that are too easy to overlook when everyone is busy.

What if you do manage this though, what next? Well, next is making sure that the right staff, processes and tools are on hand just when you need them. What you don’t want is a particular staff member unreachable right when you need him for a recovery.

The best recovery process in the world is only as effective as the people on hand to perform it. So, there you are. Data backup and recovering from disaster are not the same thing and performing the first cannot guarantee the second.

Having backups in the first place is a step in the right direction, but it is only the first step. Creating a the right approach, a programmatic approach, to backup and recovery is the only way to protect the data your business relies on. Surrounding the process with the right people, tools and ensuring each is always available is key.

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