Data restore is just one component of your overarching disaster recovery plan. But it’s arguably most critical to regaining productivity after an outage. So how often should you test your data restore process?
Too often, we talk to IT directors that proudly state they have a data backup and restore strategy in place. But when the topic of testing is broached, this aura of confidence dissolves into a more puzzling look. Most have never even tested their data restore process.
When it comes to preventing costly data loss, having a data restore plan in place is only part of the equation. Without frequent testing, there’s no guarantee your data and files will successfully restore in the event of an outage or natural disaster. And as life tends to go, your restore will fail when you need it most.
Common Reasons Companies Don’t Test Their Restore Process
Your disaster recovery plan involves multiple layers to decrease the time it takes to restore your files. If you don’t test your data restore process, you run a very high risk of the recovery not working.
IT teams often fail to test their restore process due to a lack of time. If you think about it — you should be testing the very thing that could break your business. And the more important the data, the more often you should fail it over. After all, the potential blow of a failed restore will cost you and your organization far more money and brainpower than simply testing the process.
No IT director enjoys explaining to the CEO why employees can’t access their emails or files. By making testing a part of your weekly routine, you can avoid these potentially uncomfortable — and career-threatening — conversations with the CEO.
Rethink Your Existing Data Restore Process
We often talk to companies that believe backing up their hard drive or taking snapshots of their servers is enough to safeguard their data.
But say you take a snapshot of the database, put it on the hard drive and take it home with you each week. What happens when you go on vacation and the whole server blows up? You have to make sure someone knows how to get the backup hard drive. You’ll also need to buy a new server. But do you know how long it will take to get a new server and rebuild it? Say it takes 3 days to get the server up and running. Can you really afford to go 3 days without it?
Your data backup and restore process (and testing schedule) depends on the nature of your data. For critical data, you may even need to back up the backup server or virtual server.
You also need to consider whether your old server will work on a new server. If you don’t test it, there’s no assurance it will work. While some servers are throwaway web servers that might not seem critical, rebuilding is still a huge hassle. You could also need to repurchase the license if the server goes down and have snapshots of that server so you can bring it back. Instead, you should do a restore each week.
At Agile IT, our cloud specialists work with customers to map out a detailed disaster recovery and data restore process based on the nature of your data. As part of our disaster recovery services, we test your data restore process for you. We work through every potential scenario — from understanding which apps are running on your servers to successfully testing the restore — so you can be confident that crucial company data will remain available when you need it most.