When Last Did You Test Your Backups?
Given how crucial IT infrastructure is to the smooth running of today’s businesses, organizations must establish a solid backup and recovery plan. A cyberattack, natural disaster, or any other emergency that affects your data can cripple the operations of your business. According to a study conducted by the University of Texas, 94% of companies suffering from a catastrophic data loss don’t survive, 43% never reopen, and 51% close within two years. These stats underscore just how important it is to back up your data.
In this post, we will look at why data backup is important and the best practices for testing your backups.
The Cost of Data Breach is High
You have probably seen news headlines about the recent ransomware attacks. These attacks involve threat actors fraudulently accessing your network and introducing malware that takes control of and encrypts your computing assets.
Threat actors then demand that you pay a ransom in exchange for a decryption key. Suppose you become a victim of a ransomware attack and you have no functional backups, you may be forced to pay the ransom fee in the hopes that you’ll get a decryption key that will enable you to access your assets. There’s, however, no guarantee.
According to an IBM and Ponemon Institute 2021 Data Breach Report, the average cost of a data breach increased by 10%, reaching $4.24 million, up from $3.86 million in 2020. Given how costly a data breach can be, it is important that businesses regularly backup their data and also perform frequent tests on their backup to ensure that they are effective.
The Importance of Data Backup and Testing
Most business leaders assume that their data is being backed on the cloud or a server. And while most businesses do actually back up their data, the protocols that various businesses use differ. Some businesses don’t properly separate backups from other IT infrastructure, while others don’t back up their data frequently. Still, others haven’t put in place sound security measures and pass on compromised data to their backup solution. Additionally, some businesses that outsource their data backup and recovery solutions to an MSP don’t check to ensure that the provider does a good job.
Even if your data is automatically backed up every day to an on-site server, the cloud, and an off-site server, you must conduct regular tests on your backups. That said, how frequently should you test your backups? Ideally, you could test your backups immediately after you have backed up your files. But since backup testing takes a lot of time, such frequent testing is impractical. You could instead go for a weekly or monthly schedule. Establish automatic testing for your databases, applications, virtual machines, and individual files on the weekends or at night when few, if any, employees are using the system.
You should also monitor your backups regularly to identify any backup failures. Not checking your backups on a regular basis may result in you missing system issues that could result in backup failures.
Finally, it is important to conduct recovery testing on your backups. Having backups will not make much sense if you can’t restore them quickly when in a crisis. As such, you should regularly test your ability to restore your operations quickly using your backups. When you conduct regular recovery tests on your backups, you can identify and rectify any weaknesses, thereby improving your effectiveness and recovery time speed.
You should insist that your IT company conducts regular data backup and data recovery tests according to your schedule and comfort level and they should document and show proof of the tests. Also, at least once a year, simulate a complete failure and have your resources come back online on your backup systems to assess how effective your existing IT company is.
If you are not sure when last you tested your backups, K2 Technologies can help. Our team of IT experts will work with you to establish a regularly monitored and tested backup solution for your business. Contact us today to begin the journey of safeguarding your business.