Reasons Data Backups Fail

Backup Backup Backup - And Test Restores

In an era where cell phones remember phone numbers for us, money can be transferred without ever writing a check, and entire business transactions can be done on the Internet, data has become bigger–and more important–than ever.

But what would happen if that cell phone was lost, or there was no record of that transaction, or the internet was down?  What then?

As more transactions become paperless and digitized, and as the world of business becomes more integrated with IT, our vulnerabilities are growing about as quickly as our data volume.

Truth be told, data dumps, failed backups, and hard drive crashes are not as common or threatening as they once were, and they are preventable.  There are a variety of solutions such as clouds and data recovery services to prevent catastrophic data failures from happening, but data failures do happen, and they are usually the byproduct of a few failed practices.  A recent study by IT Whitepaper discusses the reasons for most of these failures in their paper “When Good Backups Go Bad: Data Recovery Failures and What To Do About Them“:

Failure to Backup All Data – The easiest way to recover lost data is to backup ALL data on regular basis.  While most organizations backup a portion of their data–about 60 percent–less than half backup all of their data.  This means that in case of a catastrophic event, 40 percent of data (including emails, documents, applications, and customer data) would be lost.

Lack of Remote Office Protection – Critical data doesn’t just exist in the motherland; important off-site data from remote, home, and regional offices can be vulnerable to data loss if the same measures to back it up are not taken. Off-site data backups are often overlooked and ill-maintained by IT departments, so special attention to update and backup data is required.

Inconsistent, and Infrequent Data – According to the Symantec’s 2011 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey, less than half of all organizations backup data once or more a week, while it is recommended that data be backed up once a day.  “IT outages and data loss can occur at any time as a result of hardware failure, human error, natural disaster, or improper security processes. Often, the most crucial data to an individual is the project on which they are currently working.” (“When Good Backups Go Bad: Data Recovery Failures and What to Do About Them.” via IT Whitepapers)

Mis-Matched Backup Solutions – It is suggested that only about 20 percent of backup jobs are successful due to the complexity of solutions that have been integrated over time.  While new solutions are very effective when installed “from the ground up,” most solutions follow a previously installed solution, and these solutions often compete with each other, creating a bottleneck, and complicating the procedure.

Poor Practice – A change in IT infrastructure without also updating the backup procedure can lead to backup failure because when the information is sought for retrieval, it may link to something that no longer exists, or is in a different location, making the data unretrievable.

Putting these precautionary steps into practice can help you avoid a data disaster, and save you time, money, and reputation in case a backup failure ever does occur.

Black Mountain Software encourages our customers to take a close look at their backup and data recovery systems to prevent the loss of improperly backed up data due to viruses, server crashes, natural disasters, or any variety of potential occurrences. Our sofware is easy to backup and our staff is happy to discuss any backup concerns you may have and offer possible options. We can even recommend a partner firm who specializes in secure offsite backup.

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