Issues #5 and #6
#5 You need a plan and some testing.
If you live in the Souteast you have a better chance of getting a hurricane. In the west it’s forest fires. Natural disasters are out there and businesses need to plan for them. But that’s only half of it; they need to test their plans. What’s the point of having a disaster recovery / business continuity plan if it doesn’t work when you need it? So test it beforehand. Some things to help you achieve these goals.
First some simple questions to help you get started:
- Are you backing up everything? Are you sure?
- Who is responsible for testing? How often do they check?
- Do your backups run automatically? If not, who manually runs and verifies them?
- When did you last restore or test your restore process?
- Have you tested a full restore of your system?
- Do you keep offsite copies of your data?
- Does the offsite backup use encryption?
- What security measures are in place?
- How far back can you restore your data?
- For legal reasons can you recover an email that was deleted last month?
If you couldn’t answer the questions above – find a local data support specialist to help. Many have free templates you can download to help with the process, or even work with you to fill them out properly.
Some other questions might be:
- What’s my most important system?
- Do I need this restored to new hardware? Can my backup handle that?
- How do I back up my SQL, Sharepoint or Exchange servers?
- How long can I be down before my business seriously suffers?
Your plan must include questions like these, and your testing must live up to the answers.
#6 Alerts and reporting – You need to have a backup solution that can alert you when there is an issue with your backup and send regular reports about what (and wasn’t) backed up. Otherwise you won’t realize it unless you are diligent enough to check yourself, or you try to restore and find it. By then it’s too late!
Alerts should warn and send reports regarding many things:
- A file is corrupted.
- A file is locked and cannot be backed up.
- The backup never ran.
- A PC, Server or laptop wasn’t backed up.
- Files were deleted.
- A process can’t run, it needs administrator settings.
These are just a few of the things that you should be made aware of automatically. Without them you’re really flying blind.
Thanks for reading – what do you think?