Why do schools still have fire drills? Why do day cares still practice tornado preparedness? Because natural disasters happen. In fact, it’s not a matter of ‘if’, but rather ‘when’. And, in the best case scenario, all the planning was for nothing. Because of course, we would rather be prepared and not need it, then to be caught unaware.
Because things happen, it is important to have a plan. But, just like a fire drill is a plan, they still go through the motions of practicing the plan. The same needs to be true of any disaster recovery plan. Many companies put the plan in action, but then never test it. Here are a few benefits to testing your backups to prepare for disaster recovery:
1. Actual vs. Theory
Ever heard the term, “It looked good on paper”? Anything can make sense when we sit down and think, brainstorm and even pass a vote on a process, procedure, policy, mindmap, flowchart… but, when we actually implement those things, we can find new ‘holes’ in them. We discover redundancies, inefficiencies and just plain forgotten steps. A major data loss scenario is not the time to see if your disaster recovery plan worked.
By testing the disaster recovery plan, critical tasks are able to be assigned to key people. And, if those key people change, the plan can also change. With testing, it is much easier and faster to keep up to date on the process and any needed changes, as well as being able to hold people accountable to the tasks that are required.
3. Client Service
Have you ever called a company and the person on the other end of the phone say, “I’m sorry I can’t help you right now, my system is down”? It is very frustrating. If instead, we were able to know when the system would be restored and that our data was protected and safe, we would be much more comfortable in the situation. When it is known how long disaster recovery will take and exactly what is restored, we are able to better communicate with clients. This offers them security in knowing we are confident in our processes and ability to serve them.
4. Not wasting money
Most companies are spending a good portion of their budget, both time and expenses, on backing up their information. How much of a waste of time and money is that if the backup is not working? It sounds like throwing money into a pit. By testing the backup, it is verifying that the resources are being well spent on a system that is meeting expectations, before the real life disaster recovery is required.
5. Reducing failures
Backup system being outdated, human input errors, software malfunctions, power source failures and more can cause backups to fail. By testing the backups, companies are better able to catch these problems and create more backup points to restore from. A large part of disaster recovery is having reliable data to restore.
If practice makes perfect, then backup testing makes perfect sense. Estes Group Managed IT services can assist in disaster recovery services that include testing backup systems in case of a natural or malicious threat.
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