Keep data backup environments consistently tested and updated.

Continuity plans should always be tested

Stephen Perkins

Every business reliant on a system or server has some kind of downtime every year. How this is dealt with will say a lot about an organization, according to what Larry Lang wrote on Continuity Central. Testing a disaster recovery and data backup system is essential to make sure the company is always well-aware of where it stands regarding access to its information.

"Many organizations simply aren't aware of everything that can go wrong when recovering emergency backups, and if you never actually try to restore a file, application or server, you don't really know if you can," he wrote. "But because of the time and cost issues associated with tape, disk and cloud backup tests, IT professionals often resort to 'workarounds': they may perform a scaled-down version of a test in either a partial environment or in a partial format."

Instead of using this method, he said organizations should be committed to weekly tests of the entire data backup and disaster recovery system to help identify any problems before they cause any real issues within the business. How easy these tests will be depends on what kind of system is in place, as Lang said cloud backup and online data backup systems will likely be the easiest to work with.

Companies should always be testing, he said, as a disaster recovery system can never be 100 percent counted on if there is never any testing done. Even small changes can have a big impact, so organizations need to know what state their backups are in at all times.

Government testing especially important
A recent MeriTalk report called "Disaster Unpreparedness" found that while 70 percent of government officials grade themselves an "A" or "B" in their disaster recovery and data backup preparedness, only 8 percent are completely confident that they could recover 100 percent of their data. About half of the agencies surveyed thought their disaster recovery was in good shape for the next year, but these systems were only being tested on average 2.5 times in the past year. The recommended testing frequency, according to the report, is 5.3 times per year.

In order to make sure a disaster recovery plan is well done, MeriTalk suggested:
- Get an honest assessment of the environment
- Share that assessment with leadership and management
- Utilize experts to design the best possible program
- Test it regularly
- Continually reassess what is wanted and needed from this program

Categories: Disaster Recovery