How Do You Know if Your Backups are Working?

I was just talking to a business executive the other day at a networking event. She was telling me how frustrated she ...

I was just talking to a business executive the other day at a networking event. She was telling me how frustrated she was with her current IT company and expressing some of her concerns. This is a conversation I have often and the concerns are almost always the same. One of the biggest fears... are we being backed up?

Even if your IT team tells you you're being backed up, there are things that you need to know to fully understand what is being backed up, for how long, how much storage do you have and how fast can you recover if a catastrophe happens. 

Let's start from the beginning. Having a reliable data backup system is essential for any business. Not only does it protect you from potential data loss, but it can also help ensure that your systems are up and running quickly in the event of an unexpected outage or other emergency. But how do you know if your data is actually being backed up? In this post, we'll explore some key indicators that will tell you whether or not your data is secure and protected. We'll take a look at common signs to watch out for as well as best practices for ensuring that all of your important information remains safe and sound.

Some things to consider asking your IT company when it comes to backups:

Are you testing our backups and how often? How are you testing the backups?

Do you perform test restores and if so, how often? 

How much data are we backing up?

Do we have a Backup Retention Policy?

How long will it take to recover our data? 

We have taken over companies from other IT firms in the past that told is they were being backed up. When we in to do a discovery, we have found either zero successful backups or minimal backups that weren't what the client was expecting. It's not always because of negligence or mismanagement, sometimes it was a misunderstanding on the business owner's part. It is very common to hear that you are being backed up and assume that means you're completely covered. That's not always the case. Keep in mind, how much you're backing up may depend on how much you're paying. Cheap backups can equal less storage, less retention points and longer restore processes. It's important to have an effective backup retention policy in place that ensures your business can recover from any type of disaster. This means understanding the different types of backup retention points and how they should be used for maximum effectiveness. A Backup Retention Policy determines the retention time of data, archival rules, data formats and the permissible means of storage, access and encryption. There are many factors, costs, services, storage options and tools that determine how well your data is being backed up. We have some clients that pay so much for their backups that we could recover files from 20 years ago in no time. W have other clients that don't have the budget to have as robust of a backup system. When working with your IT team, you need to understand what you're paying for when it comes to your backups. There are many layers that can be put in place. Not every company needs the same backups. Your IT partner should be able to tell you the basics so that you understand what could happen if you experience a catastrophic hardware failure, an outage or a cyberattack. 

Bottom line: You need to know the basic details of how your data is being backed up. Have a conversation with your IT team and ask them the questions listed above. Understanding your backups is not only important from an operational stand point but also to help you rest easy knowing you're covered.

To talk more about backups or if you have questions about backup solutions for your business, book a call with us.