“Always Be Testing:” Weekly Disaster Recovery System Testing Critical

“Always Be Testing:” Weekly Disaster Recovery System Testing Critical

“Always Be Testing:” Weekly Disaster Recovery System Testing Critical for Small to Mid-Sized Businesses

Statistics show that most small to mid-sized businesses will experience at least one instance of system downtime a year, at an average cost of $74,000 an hour, according to Aberdeen Group. Unfortunately, only a handful of small to mid-sized businesses have ever even tested their backup to find out if complete recovery of their data, applications and systems after a disaster is possible. For those that do test, it’s often conducted infrequently — a result of outdated thinking that DR testing is time- and cost-prohibitive or too complex an endeavor. Of course, if an organization is using tape or disk backup for disaster recovery or cloud backup alone, these complaints are not altogether unfounded. Hybrid cloud solutions are more reliable and less cumbersome, with on-demand and automatic testing that can be performed in minutes.

Regardless of your DR solution of choice, the fact remains that frequent changes in your environment make the case for “Always Be Testing” — weekly, full DR tests that account for every change that was made to a company’s system.

Common Pitfalls Emphasize Importance of Weekly Testing

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. But because of the time and cost issues associated with tape, disk and cloud backup, IT professionals resort to some workarounds, such as performing a scaled- down version of a test in either a partial environment or in a partial format. The problem here is that an organization’s infrastructure is constantly changing. Servers, applications and systems are added, modified and removed, and your backup and recovery system must take these changes into account.

Microsoft’s Patch Tuesdays also introduce changes that could spell trouble if regular testing is ignored. These security patches are released once a month, but Microsoft also releases daily updates or extras on “extraordinary Patch Tuesdays.” And it doesn’t stop with Microsoft: SAP advises users to install security updates on “Security Patch Days,” which coincide with Microsoft’s Patch Tuesdays. Adobe Systems’ update schedule for its Flash Player joins the fray on Patch Tuesdays as well.

Changes in hardware, too, can be overlooked. When installed, new hardware is tested once. Regular testing after that seems superfluous, the argument being that the main DR software hasn’t changed, so the test results won’t change from the first time. But if any new hardware has been installed or upgraded and the DR software hasn’t been tested on the new platform, cracks can emerge.

Unfortunately, a common practice is to test a tape to ensure the data on it is good and that files can be recovered. After this type of test, IT professionals have the false sense of security that an entire server can be restored. But if the server itself hasn’t been tested regularly (let alone the drivers, RAID controllers or NICs), there is no way to know that everything will perform as expected.

Backup corruption is especially prevalent in tape environments. Tape media spins at a high speed, and over time, it becomes unusable. Because tapes are rarely switched out, there’s no way to know it’s corrupt until a data restoration is attempted. Corruption can also occur if a backup device has been damaged or incorrectly processed, or if the storage device has some sort of physical defect. Worse yet is if invalid data has been unknowingly backed up repeatedly over a long period of time. This means all backup copies have been corrupted.

While corruption with disk backup is far more infrequent, it has drawbacks that should be mentioned. Organizations are still limited by how much data they can retain for a long time. Disks may be added, but this approach still only allows for backup and recovery, not full DR testing.

Human error and flaws in the execution of backups occur frequently, especially in tape environments. If backups are set up correctly, tapes will be “locked” for a specific amount of time, preventing overriding of data. But if the backup was set up improperly and the tape was somehow not locked, data on that tape will be overridden.

Clearly, even a tiny change to your IT system increases the odds that something might go wrong later on. And if you wouldn’t feel comfortable erasing your hard disk right now and restoring it from your backups, it’s time to commit to a new weekly routine and adopt the “Always Be Testing” approach.

By Larry Lang, Chief Executive Officer

larry-lang

Larry Lang brings more than twenty years of global business-building experience to Quorum, which offers appliance and hybrid cloud solutions for one-click backup, recovery and continuity. His innovative views on business demands for rapid assured disaster recovery have been shared through industry forums like the International Legal Technology Association and the World Conference on Disaster Management and quoted in publications like the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. He has led Quorum through substantial revenue growth and several rounds of financing.

 

Contact us regarding contributing to our cloud community

 

Follow Us!

CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks.com is recognized as one of the leading authorities in cloud computing information. Most of the excellent CloudTweaks articles are provided by our own paid writers, with a small percentage provided by guest authors from around the globe, including CEOs, CIOs, Technology bloggers and Cloud enthusiasts. Our goal is to continue to build a growing community offering the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more...
Follow Us!

Latest posts by CloudTweaks (see all)

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.


CloudTweaks Sponsors - Find out more!

Popular

Top Viral Impact

Cloud Infographic – Cloud Computing And SMEs

Cloud Infographic – Cloud Computing And SMEs

Cloud Infographic – Cloud Computing And SMEs SMEs (Small/Medium Sized Enterprises) make up the bulk of businesses today. Most cloud based applications created today are geared toward the SME market. Accounting, Storage, Backup services are just a few of them. According to the European Commission, cloud based technology could help 80% of organisations reduce costs by…

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Survey: What Are The Trends?

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Survey: What Are The Trends?

Jaspersoft Big Data Survey Shows Rise in Commitment to Projects and Decline in Confusion Nearly 1,600 Jaspersoft Community Members Participate in Second Jaspersoft Big Data Survey San Francisco, February 4, 2014 – Jaspersoft, the Intelligence Inside applications and business processes, today shared results from its Big Data Survey. Nearly 1,600 Jaspersoft community members responded to…

Cloud Infographic: Most Used Cloud Apps

Cloud Infographic: Most Used Cloud Apps

Cloud app and analytics company, Netskope released its quarterly Cloud Report. The new report reveals that enterprise employees are using an average of 397 different cloud apps (most of which are unsanctioned), when IT estimated they have 40-50 — that’s a tenfold underestimation. Below is an infographic provided courtesy of the group at Netskope which goes into further detail.…

Cloud Infographic – The Future Of Big Data

Cloud Infographic – The Future Of Big Data

Cloud Infographic – The Future Of Big Data Big Data is BIG business and will continue to be one of the more predominant areas of focus in the coming years from small startups to large scale corporations. We’ve already covered on CloudTweaks how Big Data can be utilized in a number of interesting ways from preventing world hunger to…

2014 Future Of Cloud Computing Survey Results

2014 Future Of Cloud Computing Survey Results

Engine Yard Joins North Bridge Venture Partners, Gigaom Research and Industry Collaborators to Unveil 2014 Future of Cloud Computing Survey Results SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – Jun 25, 2014) – Engine Yard, the leading cloud application management platform, today announced its role as a collaborator in releasing the results of the fourth annual Future of Cloud Computing Survey,…



Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading influencers in cloud computing, big data and internet of things (IoT) information. Our goal is to continue to build our growing information portal, by providing the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more.

You can help continue to support our community by social sharing, sponsoring, partnering or contributing to this great educational resource.

Contact

CloudTweaks Media
Phone: 1 (212) 763-0021
contact@cloudtweaks.com

Join our newsletter