Test your backups.
You’re running a business. You have mission-critical data on your server and workstations. This includes trade secrets, client data and financial information. You backup your data to protect you in case an emergency struck. You know the backups work and your mission-critical data is safe, offsite.
Or do you?
This is something you have to test. When you test backups, by restoring data, you learn:
- Backups are happening regularly. This usually means after-hours.
- You are backing up your mission-critical folders and files.
- You see how to change the app’s settings in case you move data to another folder.
The way to test backups…is to perform a test restore. I usually restore a test folder to C:\Temp. This lets me verify the backups were successful while also keeping production data in place.
Everybody has a favorite solution. No solution is the best while all others are awful. I actually support three. One is JungleDisk, which is part of the Rackspace family. Jungle Disk presents instructions to restore data from a backup vault at https://support.jungledisk.com/hc/en-us/articles/200807704-Restoring-from-a-Backup-Vault. You can review these instructions and restore test data. Even if you use another service, visit the company’s website and learn how they recommend you restore data.
What you need to do.
Set aside one hour for this task. Prepare by obtaining:
- Your username and password.
- Your encryption key.
- Documentation showing which folders and files you are backing up.
- Frequency of backups.
- Steps to restore files.
The backup/restore test.
Launch your File Explorer and navigate to C:\Temp. Purge the contents. Create the folder if you do not already have it. Review your documentation and restore a random folder from the backups to C:\Temp. If you’re successful, great! If you’re not successful, damn! You have a new, high-priority task. That is, of course, find out why the test failed.
Test your backups by performing a test restore before you have a disaster. The more prepared you are, the more able you are to recover after that disaster strikes and threatens your business. This is not something you can postpone indefinitely. This is something you or your network manager need working right.