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When Was the Last Time You Tested Your Data Backups?

According to research done by the University of Texas, 94% of companies suffering from catastrophic data loss do not survive. 43% of them never reopen. Even more, reopen briefly, but end up closing within two years of the event. Your data is a critical element of your business. You already know about the importance of data backups to help keep you up and running–but when was the last time you tested your data backups?

We find that often, companies think that they have robust data backups, but they never actually test them. Sometimes, we come in as a new contractor for a company who thinks that they have been backing up their data for weeks and months, but they haven’t tested it–and in reality, their data hasn’t been effectively backed up for years.

Years of lost data? Ouch! That could send your business crashing to a halt–and leave you scrambling to handle your existing customers or to fix those potential problems before they become much more serious.

How Often Should You Test Your Data Backups?

Ideally, you should test your data backups on a regular basis to ensure that they’re working as effectively as possible. We recommend that at least once a year, your business simulate full data loss, take all of your primary systems offline, and boot up entirely from your backups to get an idea of how much data you would retain and what you would lose in the event of an emergency. Not only is that simulation vital for ensuring that your data backups are working effectively, it can help give your employees a better idea of how they should respond in an actual data loss emergency, which can ultimately help your business keep running more effectively even in the event of a disaster.

Otherwise, how often should you check your data backups? There are several key questions to keep in mind.

1. How much data do you deal with?

The more data you move through your system on a regular basis, the more critical it can prove to test your data backups and make sure they’re working effectively. If you deal with relatively little data, you may not need to back up your systems as often, since you can restore them more easily and may have fewer problems from lost data. On the other hand, if you collect a huge amount of data every day, you may find that you need to test your backups more reliably.

2. How much data can you afford to lose and still run your business effectively?

Take a hard look at how your business operates and how reliant it is on the data that you input each day. If you know that you cannot afford to lose access to that vital data, you may want to check your backups and ensure that they are running as efficiently as possible on a regular basis. You need to work with an IT company that can help you test those vital backups and ensure that they keep running effectively even in less-than-ideal circumstances.

3. How comfortable are you with your current data backup solution?

If you have a robust data backup solution with several checks and balances, and it has worked effectively and efficiently for your business for years, you may not need to test it as often–though it’s important to ensure that the technology remains up to date and that it keeps working as effectively as possible. On the other hand, if you’ve just instituted a new data backup solution or you’ve struggled with glitches and problems in the past, you may find that checking it more often provides vital peace of mind.

Why is Data Backup Testing So Important?

Your business runs on its data. In the event of catastrophic data loss, your business may not survive. Why is data backup testing so important? Consider these key elements.

1. Your data backups can provide vital protection to your business in the event of multiple types of disasters.

In a physical disaster, your backups can restore data lost due to damage to the building or allow employees to continue working even while they cannot access the physical office. During a cyberattack, data backups can allow your business to keep running as usual, even if you experience catastrophic data loss in your primary location.

2. Your data backups allow you to continue to provide comprehensive service to your customers.

Ideally, your data backups should function so smoothly that your customers never even realize that there has been a glitch or a problem. They should experience uninterrupted service regardless of what happens to your business internally. Without those vital backups, however, you may find yourself struggling to continue to provide service to your customers. Those customers can lose trust in your brand or choose to visit your competitors in an effort to get faster service–and they might not come back to your brand even when the immediate emergency is over, since they may decide that they’re more satisfied with what they have received elsewhere.

3. Testing offers the only way to determine whether your data backups are working effectively.

If you fail to test your data backups, you cannot know if they are working the way you intended. A lack of testing could leave you with unrealistic confidence in what your data backups can provide in the event of a company-wide disaster. With testing, on the other hand, you’ll have a better idea of what those data backups can really offer in the event of an emergency–and that can help you create better disaster recovery plans that are more likely to guide your business through a potential challenge.

Does your IT company test your data backups regularly to ensure that they are providing the robust functionality your business needs most in the event of a disaster? Don’t settle for inadequate backups and poorly-designed solutions. Contact us today to learn how we can help you test, manage, and trust your data backups.