I Have Backups, My Data is Safe

Maintaining a data backup is a major part of any disaster recovery plan. It is important that your files are regularly backed up, either using tape backup software, or some other service, which may include copying data to a cloud server.

All machines which contain any important data need to be part of this strategy, with whatever software required, installed for each machine added to the network. A failure in this procedure, even for one machine, could risk the loss of critical data, requiring data recovery to be necessary on that machine.

No Room for Complacency

It is part of human nature to become lazy and complacent once we have a working system is place. It’s easy to sit back and relax, but computer and software errors can occur at any time, which could lead to files not being backed up after they have been changed.

Corruption of a file, either through a bad sector on a hard drive, or a virus infection could easily lead to a service not being started that is essential for the operation of the backup. If you are overseeing the backup schedules, it is important to check that each machine is operating and sending the data for backup correctly. The data backup should also be periodically assessed, to check the veracity of the files being stored.

Tapes Are Reliable but Can Go Wrong

Tapes are considered a long term storage media, but there are many reasons that a failure could occur. The easiest failure to spot is a serious hardware issue with the drive, as the backup software should report errors, so it is essential to check the backup log files. However some hardware issues can go unnoticed until a restore is required, at which point it may be too late.

Tapes either move at high speed across the tape head, or the tape head is spinning fast while in contact with the media. Over time if a tape is used many times, this will lead to deterioration of the media. This can cause the backup to slow down, or later loss of data when attempting to restore from the backup.

Regular backup media rotation is essential, with tapes preferably sent off-site as a secure copy of the data, as insurance against disasters such as fire or flood.

Common Backup Mistakes

The single most common mistake is not doing periodic checking of the data backed up, whether it’s to tape or a cloud server. Making sure the data from all the machines attached to the network are sending the data to be backed up correctly, is also easily overlooked.

Tape backups have often been left to junior or temporary personnel, who have not been properly instructed in the correct tape rotation procedures. It has been known for an employee to receive new tapes each week, only to place them in a cupboard, and keep using the old tapes.

This is why, no matter how good your disaster recovery plan, part of it should include data recovery services for you laptops, desktops, servers and tape backups. Knowing which data recovery company forms part of that plan, will give ease of mind, should disaster strike.

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