Technology continues to play an even greater role in core business activities and therefore protecting those assets is now more important than ever. The best way to deal with the growing reliance on technology and data is with modern backup management.
Backups have long been a standard in good IT management, but testing those backups to ensure they are working has long been a failure in many small and medium-sized businesses. You test your smoke detectors, right?
Good backups are a labour of care.
The best way to ensure your backups are working is to regularly monitor and maintain them. Modern backup solutions provide backup frequencies far more often than the once per day or weekly (that was common years ago). Now, it is expected that you will have multiple backups running throughout the day to provide smaller windows between changes, such as our recommended hourly incremental.
You could go and check that every backup is running on every server, every hourly increment, but the better approach is to leverage solutions and processes to do some of that heavy lifting for you and have a human touch to ensure that the robots are doing their jobs.
Smart Dolphins manages multiple backup solutions, from our legacy StorageCraft ShadowProtect SPX server, along with our active Datto and Unitrends systems, all of which are within their own portal. We utilize an additional system called Backup Radar. This tool takes all the reporting data, backup jobs, automated verifications etc. and aggregates them into a set of reports and dashboard functions.
All of this means that we have an active view of every backup at every one of our clients. We review the stats on these daily to ensure backups are running and conduct more thorough audits weekly where we look for any trends or issues, check the off-site replication jobs and do a confirmation that the backups are mountable/restorable once a month; something that is still checked by a human to ensure that what the system says is good is indeed good.
In short, good backups are a labour of care. Many hours every month are needed to ensure that when something happens that event is not as big of a disaster as it could be. Whether you are managing hundreds of backups or just one simple server, you always need to make sure that your backups are running, that any maintenance (like off-site replication or consolidation or incremental images) is happening, and most importantly, that you can mount/boot those backups so that if you need them, they work with the benefit of knowing how to get into them when the time comes. And as this IT case in point suggests, always remember there is often a better way to do repetitive tasks — there are systems, tools and services that exist to take manual workflows and turn them into a scroll down a page and look for anything not green level of automation.