Doing Backup Right

January 4, 2010

Backup, but Restore is key!

Brien Posey at Techrepublic has an excellent primer titled; 10 common backup mistakes

The article is excellent so I won’t repeat it here.

The questions

As a general manager in the small to medium business, your business technology staff tell you that they are making backups.

But the critical questions you need to be asking is; what is the time required to restore that backup?

The only way to carefully calculate your risk vs cost is to look probability of a data restore risk, with the cost of mitigating that risk.

So ask questions!

How long to restore data if the entire server fails? Is there another one available? or are you going to have to order a new machine, wait a few days for delivery and then have to restore?

How long to restore data if a server fails, and the backup tapes are off site? Is there turn around delays?

How long to restore data if all servers failed due to fire or flood?

The SMB Takeaway

It is too easy to say we backup our key data – but that is not the correct question! The correct questions are can we restore it? and how long will it take under various circumstances?

Because system failure happens. It is not if – just when

And if you were expecting that your IT staff or suppliers could replace a completely dead server in moments, when they know that purchasing a new one can take several days – you have a disaster just waiting to happen.

UPDATE: Joel Spolsky covers this topic excellently in this post titled;  Let’s stop talking about “backups”

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Photo Credit twicePix via flickr

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