Testing Your Online Backup to Make Sure It Works

So you’ve identified the data that is vitally important to you, uploaded it into cloud data storage, and thus stored it out of harm’s way. That’s a good start, but are you really sure you could download the backup copy of the data and use it if your original copy became unavailable? Suppose you’re backing up data for your business. Could you also start working with your online backup information fast enough to avoid customers becoming frustrated by the wait and then moving to a competitor?
Is Your Online Backup Procedure Working?
Anyone who backs up data online should test the recoverability of the data. If you’re a consumer uploading your treasured library of MP3 files, then at least try to transfer a few older backed-up items from the cloud back to your PC and check that you can use them. This may sound somewhat basic – after all, file transfer has been around for a long time and you’re just copying files from one place to another. However, problems may still arise: for instance, perhaps the transfer command you think you’re using hasn’t actually transferred the files at all. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and a quick check can reveal any holes in the backup procedure you’re using today.
What’s at Stake in Backups for Business
Business users may have more to test. Not only do they need to be able to recover data such as customer records, manufacturing plans, market forecasts and so on, but they also need to use the data fast. But what happens if the online backup file is fine, but the configuration data for the corresponding application has been lost? Database management systems and email systems often also depend on system and user configuration profiles in order to function properly. To really check the effectiveness of your online backups as a business user, try to start up any strategically important application using only an un-configured computer and the data and other components you have recovered from their online backups. If your application cannot be restarted again locally like this, the online backup procedure must be corrected.
Disaster Recovery and Dealing with Data Disappearance
What we’ve described above is part of what is termed disaster recovery planning (DRP). This includes the evaluation of the risk of loss of data, server crashes, denial of access to your IT center or similar events; and the impact each would have on your business. It also covers procedures to put in place and maintain alternative solutions that you can use if those events occur. Online backup plays an increasingly important role in disaster recovery planning, because of its reliability and affordability. Best practices in DRP also state that such solutions must be tested to ensure they will work properly if they are needed.
Good Online Backups Make Prevention Better than Cure
Ideally, the tests indicated above will be quick, efficient and confirm that your online backup works because it contains all the necessary components: the application data, the configuration data and possibly a copy of the application itself. If the test fails, then you’ll have to correct your online backup process. However, the good news is that you can fix it now while your systems are still running, instead of later when things have already broken.