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If you’re not in IT, you probably consider your data backup solution one of those things that you don’t think about until you need it. Hopefully this article will change that mindset. Many companies have come to us after a disaster has hit and backup systems failed to restore critical data in a timely manner resulting in substantial losses.
The following is a rundown of the most important aspects of a good data backup solution.
How easy is it to get backups started?
It’s important to have a data backup solution that meets a good standard of getting started quickly and simply. A great indicator of a solid backup solution is how much time it takes to get started with the product. Your chosen backup solution should work in a variety of situations and should include documentation for getting the data you need into storage.
For your home backups (consumer grade solutions) this might be something as simple as Dropbox or Carbonite. In corporate environments, care is taken to arrange company data in such a way that it’s easy and quick to access ensuring you’ve got the most recent copy of that word document you’ve been working on for the last few weeks. Putting the companies data onto a central file server is a great example of this.
How easy is it to restore your data?
Now that your data is secured by a backup solution and you’re following best practices of having off site backups and an acceptable retention period for any recovery, you’re prepared for the worst and you’ll be restoring from backups. A great benchmark of a good backup solution is how quickly they can get your business back up and running. If you are spending more time preparing the restore process than it would take for you to rebuild the entire environment, then you may need to re-evaluate your backup solution.
Reporting is huge
The best technology professionals have the following mindset: If it’s not documented, it never happened. A good backup will generate alerts on both success and failures, so that you can easily confirm a backup has happened any issues that may have been identified with that backup. This covers issues with the backup server itself or power outages on site. Backup solutions “worth their salt” will have a good reporting feature to ensure that your business is covered.
Proving you’ve got good data backups
File corruption happens. Drives fail, files are deleted, and servers get powered off. It’s very important for your backup solution to have verifiable backups. Reporting is a great function to confirming that a backup happened, but how do you really know that the backup contains good data. Testing plays a critical role in a solid backup solution.
It is important to verify your backups by routinely testing the ability to restore in intervals so that if the worst happens, you are able to minimize downtime and get your operations back on track.