You run your backups on a regular basis, but how often do you run a test restore? Having a disaster recovery policy in place and running automated backups is a great start to protecting your data. But if a server or drive fails during the work day, do you have the confidence in knowing you can restore a file, application, or server on the fly with a frantic user calling your mobile phone while you're busy working on other priorities?
Although you can count on UltraBac to provide you with reliable backups, other things can go wrong unrelated to the backup software and of no fault of your own:
- Corruption of original files: a virus, power outage or surge, failing applications, or even a hard shutdown of your computer can easily corrupt files.
- Poor quality media: a failed drive, broken tape, scratched CD, or other media you've been using for months becomes unreadable.
- Incomplete data: a co-worker needs to back up just their directory one night but forgets to reset the configuration so now your backup consists of just one directory.
- Hardware failures: your backup hardware itself can fail to function properly.
- Encryption: media was configured to be encrypted long ago but now there's no one around that knows or remembers the password.
- Strange but true: a small business stores their tape backups in a bank safe deposit box but the box next to them contains something with a magnet.
A practice run will assist you in identifying the amount of time required to restore your data. These data emergencies never occur at a convenient time so having a sound restore process in place would ensure the fastest possible recovery. Document the procedure in a text file and back that up too!
Some helpful tips:
- Don't just test a couple of files. Be sure you can restore entire directories, applications, and/or servers. A trial restoration can uncover hardware problems that do not show up in software verifications.
- Run a test restore to a different computer or server. If you don't have a test environment, build one from a restore – it's a great way to practice.
- Conduct a verify operation after recovery.
- Run your tests during business hours when our tech support team is readily available to assist you.
Test your restores at least once a year…say on World Backup Day (March 31st) when we're likely to send you a reminder! In addition, be sure to run additional backup and restore tests after any major changes to your hardware or applications. Feel free to email or call our Tech Support team at 425.644.6000 if we can assist during your testing process – we're here to protect your data.