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Has Your Outsourced Toronto IT Company Tested Your Backups Recently

Would you recover your crucial data if your business’s IT infrastructure failed? Data loss can set your business back years, if it is lucky enough to survive. Up to 60% of small businesses shut down for good after losing data. The odds are not good, considering the prevalence of cyber-attacks and other threats such as hardware failure and human error.

Fortunately, there is a simple and effective solution: data backup. However, data backups will protect you from data loss only if the systems work properly. This is why it is important to test your data backup systems regularly.

So, when was the last time your Toronto IT company tested your data backups? Here is an overview of why you should be concerned, and what you can do about it.

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Importance of Data Backup Tests

Data backup and data backup tests are two different concepts. Data backup entails duplicating and archiving your data in a separate storage location. On the other hand, data backup testing entails testing the data backup systems to ensure that they are working.

Data backup testing is just as important as regular data backups. As mentioned, many small businesses don’t survive data loss, and survivors take years to recover. It would be a pity if you had a regular data backup system in place, but it failed you when you needed it the most. Testing your backup systems ensures that this never happens, as you can detect and solve problems as soon as they start.

How Does Data Backup Testing Work?

Ideally, data backup testing should examine every functionality and aspect of your data backup system. Some of the most important tests include:

Data Backup Hardware 

Secondary data storage devices such as CDs, USB flash drives, and hard disks are recommended for storing sensitive data. However, CDs break and secondary flash drives become corrupted. Data may be lost or corrupted when that happens. As such, it is advisable to test these devices regularly to ensure that they are working properly.

Data Backup Software 

Many IT companies rely on automated programs to back up their clients’ data. These programs may fail, and you may never realize until it is too late. As such, it is advisable to test these programs to ensure that they work properly – it is also advisable to update your data backup programs to keep them working efficiently.

Data Restoration 

Data backup is only half a solution – the other half entails restoring the data after the original data is lost. Your backup system should be able to restore every piece of the original data with the backup data to get your IT system back up and running as it usually does.

There are two important points to focus on when testing data restoration: business applications and user data. Business applications are especially important because they handle the majority of IT tasks. These applications rely on present and past data, so recovery depends on databases. On the other hand, user data (and other unstructured data) necessitates restoring server or NAS volumes.

Accuracy, Efficiency & Consistency 

Some incompetent IT companies can mix up your data with other clients’ data, essentially corrupting it. Additionally, some IT companies may not back up all of the necessary data. In either case, it will be difficult to get your IT systems up and running after losing data. As such, it is important to test for accuracy, efficiency, and consistency.

Scope & Frequency of Data Backup Tests

Sadly, some IT management companies hardly ever test their data backup systems. This leaves their clients vulnerable, exposing them to crippling data loss risks. This is why it is important to ensure that your IT service provider regularly tests your data backup systems.

Ideally, data backup tests should be as regular as the data backup schedules. Prudence suggests performing the test sometime before the next data backup date. This will ensure that every backup is successful. A competent IT company will ask this in advance, and you shouldn’t hesitate to follow up and request a more customized or personalized backup testing plan.

As mentioned, data backup testing shouldn’t leave anything to chance. It should prove whether or not the backup system can fully restore your IT systems and all related solutions. Some of the most important systems and platforms to consider include:

Hardware Systems 

Data loss can compromise hardware systems such as computers and hard disks. Tests should tell whether the backed up data can work on new hardware systems.

Software & Applications 

Business applications are important, as discussed earlier. The data backup systems should collect and maintain pristine data to ensure that these applications and software run flawlessly after restoration.

Online Platforms 

Small businesses lose up to $300,000 for every hour their e-commerce websites are down or inactive. It can take hours or days to get the main site up again after data loss. Consequently, the backup systems should maintain the relevant data to transfer to a backup website.

Tip: The best way to ensure that your data backup system is working optimally (and that your backup tests are exhaustive) is by simulating a real (and preferably devastating) data loss incident. Check to see that the backup system essentially mirrors the real system after the complete data loss simulation. However, this test can be disruptive, so it is advisable to limit it to a manageable number of times.

Don’t Take Chances!

It is true that many incompetent IT management companies don’t test their data backup systems. Considering the growing threat of cyber-attacks and data loss, working with such an IT services provider amounts to sitting on a ticking time bomb. Your business cannot afford to take any chances, so ensure that your IT services provider offers flexible and regular testing plans.

Tektonic Managed Services offers flexible data backup testing plans. We will test your data backup systems as often as you wish. Get in touch today to learn more and take the first step to secure your data (and your business’s future).

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