The Importance Of Disaster Recovery Testing

Jan 04, 2016

The Importance Of Disaster Recovery Testing

BY Saad Alam

Business Continuity

You’ve recovered from the shock of a disaster due to server failure or a recent flood that damaged all your computers, and you probably thought the worst is over. Unfortunately, you may not be out of the woods yet. Even though you backed up all your important data, you find out the backups failed, and your business has ‘frozen over’.

This scenario happens too often, with businesses finding out too late that their backups were incomplete or functioned incorrectly. Therefore, disaster recovery testing is necessary to ensure your backups are successful.

What and when to test

Disaster recovery testing has to be done in order to validate your business continuity plan. Depending on the solution (not all solutions include an on-site device that can virtualize instantly), you should test that your backups are recoverable through:

  • Your onsite-business continuity device (to ensure that your device is able to recover your data in seconds right from the device itself)
  • The cloud-to-onsite location (to check download speeds and effects on resources)
  • Offsite-cloud virtualization, also known as disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

Your first disaster recovery test will likely be an eye opener, but it will make it easier to identify and resolve issues. Testing every quarter will validate that you’re doing the right thing for your business.

From quarterly testing to daily verifications

For most people, quarterly testing isn’t enough. After all, you never know when you’ll need it. Luckily, you can ensure backups are working properly even without a full disaster recovery test.

If you work with an MSP, make sure they have proof of your daily backups. While an email alert or report after a backup can ensure the backup was taken, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a backup is functioning properly. To determine this, you have to start the backup as a virtual machine and ensure it works.

Another option would be to have daily screenshots that prove your backup worked. A screenshot will be emailed to you or your MSP, showing the login screen of whichever machine was backed up. These aren’t screenshots of your actual machine - they’re screenshots of your backups! The ultimate proof that your system image is backed up and recoverable.

The best solutions give you peace of mind that your business is protected from data loss and downtime. The worst time to find out that a backup didn’t work is when you really need it. Disaster recovery testing should be a part of your overall business strategy with the help of your business continuity provider.

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