By Brian Oppermann, Senior Systems Engineer

This blog is supposed to be about testing backups – and we’ll get there – but indulge me for a moment while I digress.

If you work in IT, you’ve probably spent the past year thinking and talking about ransomware more than you ever thought possible. How to stop it, how to avoid it, whether or not to pay for it – the very word “ransomware” strikes fear in the hearts of IT people around the globe. In fact, I recently read a fascinating study in which 1,700 managed service providers (MSPs) were surveyed about their thoughts on the topic.1 When those MSPs were asked what they consider the most effective way to protect their clients from a ransomware attack, do you know what they said? Having a solid backup and disaster recovery solution in place.

In that same report, it was also telling that 96 percent – nearly every one of the MSPs surveyed – said their small- to medium-sized business (SMB) clients who were protected by a strong data protection and recovery solution were able to fully recover from a ransomware attack, while only 40 percent were able to do the same without one.

And in a recent Tech Target article2 about World Backup Day (yes, it’s a thing), the article noted that, of the respondents from another survey who reported experiencing data loss last year, 43 percent were able to restore between 75 and 100 percent of their data from their backups, while 11 percent were able to restore between 40 and 75 percent of their data.

That’s a good thing, right? If you’re one of those 43 percent, yes, it is.  But if you’re part of the 11 percent who sound like they were backing up yet were only able to restore 40 percent of their data, you’re probably scratching your head wondering what went wrong. I can take an educated guess: They were backing up, but they failed to test their backups.  (And just like that, we’re back on track!)

Testing backups is critically important because the time to discover that your backup isn’t working is definitely not when you’ve just lost all your data.  I know, I know … your IT team is swamped, and testing something just for the sake of testing it doesn’t seem like a good use of their time.  This isn’t a new dilemma, but it’s an important issue to tackle – and to address quickly. No one ever goes to bed thinking all their data will be gone by morning.

The whole point of backing data up is to give you the ability to take a deep breath and sleep well at night knowing, in the event of a disaster – whatever that disaster may be – that you can restore your business to functionality in a “reasonable” amount of time, no matter what “reasonable” means to your organization. The only way to know if that’s true is to test your backups regularly so you can rest assured that they will work if and when you need them.

In Part 2 of this blog, we’ll examine six important questions that will help you determine whether you’re using best practices to strengthen your backups through testing and to ensure your recovery objectives are truly attainable.

Want to learn more? Explore SRC Technologies’ data protection and recovery solutions, then download a checklist and datasheet on the topic. Read a two-part blog series about backup and recovery here: Part 1: Answer Truthfully: Are You Confident in Your Backup Solution? and Part 2: Eight BC/DR Questions Every SMB Needs to Answer. Next, explore SRC’s managed backup services powered by Datto. Want a FREE consultation to get you started? Sign up for one here or give us a call at 920-965-8060 to see if a backup solution from SRC might be right for your organization.

1 Datto’s State of the Channel Ransomware Report

2 Tech Target: Remember World Backup Day?