It’s amazing – and a little scary – how often we see it happen:
A CIO of a small or midsized company puts a well-designed backup strategy in place. He or she assigns one of the IT staff to spearhead backups from now on. And then the CIO assumes the backups are happening on schedule, and basically forgets about the whole issue. Little does the CIO know that the data-filled backup tapes are just stacking up in the computer room, rather than being moved offsite regularly.
This goes on for 10 years – during which time the system and what needs to be backed up is changing.
The problem, of course, is that data backups generally require human involvement. People forget things, neglect important tasks, and make mistakes. Those factors can combine to introduce a wide range of potential problems.
Common Problems with Tape Backups
The typical data backup process is fraught with issues such as:
- Poorly stored tapes. Companies that store their own backup tapes often find them left on top of the tape drive. Stacked on top of computers. Or shoved in rickety file cabinets. How safe will these tapes be in the event of a disaster? And isn’t there a good chance they’ll be misplaced or accidentally discarded?
- Unencrypted data. The vast majority of companies don’t encrypt the data they’re writing to their storage tapes. They probably figure there’s no need to do so because the tapes won’t be leaving their facilities. But all of that changes when a tape is stolen or lost. Suddenly, vast amounts of customer credit card data, client medical data, or employee personal data will be available for the criminal’s illicit purposes.
- Incomplete backups. More often than not, companies take a “set it and forget it” policy with their backups. But as the months and years roll by, a company’s backup needs will change as it acquires competitors, grows its staff, fleshes out its product line, or even adds new locations. Eventually, a backup that was configured three or five years ago will become so outdated, it doesn’t even contain enough data to help the company resume operations after a natural disaster or major technology problem.
Avoiding the Pitfalls of Data Backups
Now, how can you make sure your company isn’t susceptible to these pitfalls?
It’s easy enough to see if you’re storing backup tapes properly, and to ask IT whether they’re encrypting your data or just writing it onto your tapes. But there’s only one way to test the completeness and functionality of your backups: you need to try to restore your operations from your backed-up data.
Of course, if you try to restore your backups onto your live systems, you’ll end up overwriting your current data and probably losing a significant amount of work. Most IT professionals know this – and that’s probably why they hesitate to test their backups as thoroughly, or as often, as they should.
That’s also why they should consider working with an IT consulting partner that has a deep understanding of how to implement, execute, and test data backups. In other words, a partner like iTech Solutions.
We have extensive experience with all aspects of tape and virtual tape backups. When it’s time to test the effectiveness of your backups, we can bring in the hardware you need to perform a “practice” restore without disrupting your normal business operations. Or, you can send us your backup tapes and we can perform the verification at our own facilities.
Move Beyond Tapes for Greater Ease and Security
In addition to helping you get the most out of tape backups, we can also help you get even greater benefits by moving beyond tape backups. iTech Solutions can recommend and implement specialized storage appliances that give you cost-effective, highly secure backups right in your offices – without the hassle of dealing with fragile tapes. Or, for about the same cost as having your tapes transported to a secure facility, you can enroll in our cloud-based backup service. This service provides powerful encryption of all your backed-up data and replicates your data across two secure data centers at opposite ends of the U.S.
Think of the peace of mind this would give you during the next natural disaster. While your competitors are struggling to find lost tapes, your business can be back up and running within hours. For a free backup consultation, call iTech Solutions today at (203) 744-7854. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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