Testing, Testing...1, 2, 3
Remember in elementary school, in the middle of math class when the fire alarm would go off? For a split second your heart would skip a beat until you remembered it was just a drill. You'd practice counting off, going to your specific section of the parking lot, but really it was just 30 minutes with no class. We can't guarantee testing your recoverability will be as fun as a "fire drill", but it is just as important as when the alarm really does sound.
Here at DATASTOR™ we use seven basic principles as an outline for every backup plan. Whether we are helping a new customer set up their plan or fully managing backups for a client, these rules are tried and true. But the last one, the one at the very bottom, that one often gets forgotten.
Determine what to backup and why (Plan)
Decide how how often to backup your data (Schedule)
Target backups to quality disk with built-in redundancy or replication (Store)
Back up data on-site and off-site (Copy)
Keep your data as long as it is needed (Retain)
Trust but verify (Validate)
Confirm recoverability (Test)
The last point, testing, is very important - it’s not the icing on the cake, but gluten in the dough. Even if everything you think you need is backed up and stored correctly, you may still have unforeseen issues with recoverability. For example, user encrypted files will be backed up, but still cannot be accessed without encryption keys or certificates - and the missing keys might only be detected during a simulated recovery. Run fire drills to test and validate recoverability in preparation for the real event.