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Can you trust your backups? It’s the time of year for a spring clean (with infographic)

As winter turns to spring, (if at the moment in name only) many of us feel a need to de-clutter and clean our homes and offices.  It’s a timely reminder that data can also accumulate in organisations’ IT systems and archives, making it difficult to manage and expensive to store.

An important part of any organisation’s data management strategy, along with aiming for 100% availability and securely deleting data that’s no longer needed, is ensuring that data is effectively backed up.

Conducting backups is just step one of a complete backup protocol – regularly ensuring backups work effectively and are accessible is also paramount.

We recently surveyed 600 Ontrack® Data Recovery services customers worldwide to find out how many had a backup solution in place at the time of their data loss.  While 60 per cent of respondents did have a backup system in place at the time of data loss, the backup was either not current or not operating properly, meaning that it was effectively useless as a source of recovering the lost data.

Reasons for failure of backups to supply lost data

So why are so many companies’ backup strategies failing?  From our almost 30 years’ experience of helping companies restore their data, there are some common scenarios we see repeatedly:

  • The external hard drives used by the majority of companies are only connected on an occasional basis, hence backup is not automated and instead performed on demand
  • The computer was not switched on during the scheduled backup nor configured to perform at a different time
  • The backup software failed
  • The backup ran out of destination space
  • The backup profile did not cover all of the device requiring backup
  • File was lost before the scheduled backup

The difficulties faced by organisations that have experienced data loss clearly encourage them to put a more effective solution in place. The majority (87 per cent) of respondents said that they would be extremely likely or somewhat likely to seek a backup solution. The remaining 13 per cent of respondents who did not plan to seek a backup solution cited the time and expense associated with research and administration as the overwhelming barrier.

Top tips for Backup Success

  • Take the time to invest in a backup solution and set up a backup schedule
  • Ensure backups are running regularly in accordance with the determined schedule
  • Check backup reports for error indications or failure
  • Test backups on a regular basis to ensure data has been accurately captured and files are intact
  • When things do go wrong, calling a trusted data recovery provider to identify and assess your data recovery options can increase the likelihood of successfully recovering your data

Can you trust your backups?

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