5 Backup Mistakes to Avoid

 In Backup

Backups are critical to ensure you have the copies of your data needed for compliance, analytics, security, and recovery. Mistakes in your approach to backups can have significant and severe consequences that are discovered too late. Review your backup solution now to make sure you aren’t making these five big mistakes:

1. Backups are incomplete.

Without a complete copy of your data, you can’t completely recover from a data loss. Backups are often incomplete because data is omitted. Many times, this is a simple mistake: the data was overlooked or the system went live without being added to the backup process. There can also be a deliberate decision to avoid backing up “unimportant” files in order to speed up the backup process. Unfortunately, those unimportant files are often found to be critical when the time comes to restore a server.

Backups can also be incomplete because the backup process isn’t being monitored so failures aren’t identified and corrected. These failures can be due to mistakes in how commands were entered, permission problems, or lack of capacity on the backup media.

Another reason backups can be incomplete is because backup media can become corrupted or lost. This is a particular problem if you only do incremental backups and so require multiple backups to be restored to fully recover a system.

2. The backup process isn’t tested.

Like any IT project, backup solutions should be tested upon deployment. Often, however, backups are considered routine and basic, and tests are not conducted.

3. The restore process isn’t tested.

The restore process is perhaps even more vital than the backup process, but it often goes untested, too. Testing restores can be complicated because you need a spare server to restore it to, plus a careful validation process. It’s possible for desk read-throughs of the restore process to discover some errors, but the only way to discover other problems, is to actually execute it.

Another challenge with testing the restore process is that there isn’t just one restore process; there are multiple restore processes, depending on whether you need to restore a single file or an entire server. Multiple approaches need to be tested.

4. The procedures aren’t documented.

Backups are an important procedure, so it’s important to have the details written down. This is true even if the process is automated. It’s especially important to have the flip side, the recovery process, documented; those procedures are rarely executed and usually invoked during times of crisis.

5. The process takes too long.

There are two ways backups take too long: it takes too long to create the backups and it takes too long to restore the backups. If creating the backups takes too long, it can delay start of day procedures. If restoring from backups takes too long, outages last longer than the business is willing to tolerate. In either case, tests should determine how long backups and restores take, and you can refine your strategy to satisfy business requirements.

Do you need to correct your backup mistakes? Prescient Solutions can help you implement backup and recovery strategies that truly protect your business. Contact us to learn more about our effective backup and recovery services.

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