You might think that disaster recovery only applies to large companies or businesses. As far as I’m concerned, if I lost all the pictures of my kids or all my recipes, that would be a major disaster!
It isn’t enough to have a plan but you must TEST that plan.
About a month ago I was doing a refinance on my house and the mortgage broker was one I have used a few times for different things. When we were discussing what I was doing for a living, she was very interested because she had just lost a ton of data to a bad hard drive.
When the hard disk went down, she called her IT guy of course, and he went to the backup. The backup was bad, and subsequently she had a lot of work to re-enter. I explained to her, that although I was a little appalled that the IT person had not had the forethought to at least test the backups he was making, that it is common practice. I got with some people at the office here, and the general school of thought was that she should implement a disaster recovery “fire drill”. Now I am sure you’re wondering what exactly what that is, so I will explain.
Disaster Recovery Plans Test Your Backup Solution
Let’s say every 3-4 months, she comes in, and calls her IT guy and has him come out. Once he gets there she says to him “Now I want you to pretend my server hard drives have crashed and I want you to get me my data. I don’t have a ton of money to give to a data recovery company!” She has now put the IT person in the position of having to prove that the back ups are viable, also she will get an accurate count on how long it will take to get back up and running. If he is unable to produce her data, and the backup is bad, then they know they have problems with the disaster recovery plan. They can then tweak it to be more efficient and produce a better result.
I can not stress enough how important it is to have a data recovery plan and test that backup plan. If you do this you will be left with little down times and little to no data loss.
As I was reading this post on Sunday prior to publishing it, I thought “man, I haven’t checked my wife’s backups in a while, I better do it tomorrow”. Monday morning my wife wakes me up (at 6 AM no less) and tells me she is getting S.M.A.R.T errors on her computer. What a way to start the week! Lucky for me it was her second hard drive which I use for backup. I pulled the drive and booted up the machine and everything went well until she opened Quickbooks.
Apparently the main company files were on the bad drive and the backup files were on the C drive. We had just got our corporate taxes back from the accountant on Friday and major changes were done to the Quickbooks files reflecting his magic touches and reconciliations to our company profile.
Well long and tearful story short, the backup file was no good. I had never checked it and pretty much figured that Quickbooks knew what it was doing. If I hadn’t gotten the new file from the accountant on Friday, we would have been totally screwed! Sure I work for a data recovery company and they are experts at recovering databases from Exchange to Quickbooks, but the embarrassment alone would have killed me.
SO TEST YOUR BACKUPS!!!!