Why do backups?
Backups are the last line of defence against data and systems loss. They are often neglected until needed. Unless backups are monitored and verified there can be no guarantee that data and systems will be recoverable.
The need to recover specific data such as files and folders occurs more frequently than complete computer systems. In most cases the data we restore has been deleted by human error rather than systems failure. A typical example is the deletion of a folder rather than an individual file. The restoration of data can usually be done quickly unless the amount of data involved is large. The backup systems we use keep multiple generations of backups so data can be restored weeks or even months after it was deleted or overwritten.
The need to recover computer systems occurs less frequently than data, and is usually the result of hardware or software failure. The backups systems we use can restore whole volumes or complete systems in a relatively short time due to the sector based technology used. The restore can be to the same hardware, the same hardware that has been repaired, or completely new hardware.
Things will go wrong. An employee may mistakenly delete a whole folder instead of a single file. Recovering from this is simple. Sometimes more than one problem will happen at the same time. For example, the backups for a server start failing due to a network connectivity problem and before this can be corrected a disk drive in the server starts to fail corrupting the data on the server. Unlikely? Believe us, it happens.
A rigorous backup strategy is essential to ensure recovery. To find out how Bizcare can protect your business from data loss click the Backup Strategy button below.
Why Aren't Backups Done?
One of the first questions we ask when talking to a potential new client is "Do you know how your backups are done". Very often the answer is that there are no backups, or there may be but nobody is really sure if they are working.
The most common reasons we hear are:
- It's too difficult, nobody knows how to do it
- There isn't enough time
- Nobody has been tasked with the responsibility
- It's automated, but we're not sure if they're working.
Why Do Backups Fail?
Backups fail for many reasons. It's actually quite rare for automated backups to run for long periods of time without requiring some form of intervention.
The most common types of failure that we see are:
- The backup repository is full. The space required to keep multiple generations of backups will increase over time.
- The backup repository is offline. The device hosting the backup repository may have network connectivity issues or have failed.
- Software errors. Backup software is in most cases an application that runs on the system being backed up. Applications can fail due to software bugs or operating system problems.
- Hardware errors. Backups may fail if there is an underlying hardware problem. An example is a failing hard drive. This is an example where multiple generations of backups is essential for recovery as file corruption may have been included in recent backups before the hardware issue produced a backup failure.
To make sure that you don't get caught out by failing backups see Backup Monitoring.
Why Do Restores Fail?
The most common reasons that restores fail are:
- There is no backup. It was thought that backups were being performed but there are no backups available to be restored.
- Corrupted backups. Backup files exist but have not been verified and are found to be unreadable when trying to restore.
- Misconfigured backups. The backup files do not include the data/system that was supposed to be backed up.
- Single point of failure. The data being backed up and the backup files are on the same physical hardware which has failed.