Are you sure your backup is working?

backuptapesIn this economy there’s a lot of uncertainty. Here’s one more thing to ponder: are you sure your network backup is working?

What’s really scary to me is how many people aren’t even bothering with backups, but I assume you’ve got that covered. Maybe you even get some sort of report each day that indicates success or failure. But have you ever tested the recovery process? Murphy’s Law is alive and well in the technology arena. I hesitate to assume anything when it comes to computers, especially when it comes to something so critical as a backup system.

One company we spoke with had “a bad feeling” about his backup. When we reviewed his systems we found his backup hadn’t run for well over four months.

Another company…the backup was working, somewhat. About half the backup jobs finished successfully. But occasionally there was a full week of failures. Imagine if they’d had a server outage during one of those periods.

And then this one horrific situation we ran into…someone had sold this poor business owner on outdated tape technology, and the recovery portion of the software was never installed. When their server crashed, between software issues and slow tape reads, recovery took nearly two weeks.

As bad as that was, the best proof of Murphy’s Law was a story another tech shared with me. This company had a very well-organized backup regimen. Tapes were stored in the basement on a dedicated shelf. Everything was well-labelled and happened exactly on schedule. The jobs ran smoothly. There was no reason to doubt that they had a solid process in place…or was there? Unfortunately, there was. Turns out that shelf backed up to the elevator. You may or may not know this: elevators generate a magnetic field, and magnetic fields erase tapes. Sadly they didn’t discover this problem until they tried to recover old data from a demagnetized tape.

May I suggest you test your backup today?

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