August 13, 2021
For some, when this date shows up on a calendar, it doesn’t amount to much. They may think of the film with the same name or lookout for signs of bad fortune.
But for others, every time the thirteenth day of the month falls on a Friday is cause for dread. There’s even a name to describe this phobia, friggatriskaidekaphobia. While studies show that statistically, Friday the 13th has very little — if any — effect on events like accidents, hospital visits, or natural disasters, it’s still a date to star on your calendar.
Why is this?
Those in the data storage world have reclaimed the bad luck associated with this date. They recommend using the date as a reminder to verify your data backups.
As shared in Computer Weekly , “You are only as good as your last backup.” But what if that backup doesn’t work?
Organizations must have copies of their data to serve as protection — like an insurance policy — against hardware failures, system outages, and other disruptions to the power or network, as well as flooding, fire, or other natural disasters. They also act as a safety net against application errors or accidental deletion.
However, more and more, backups are playing an increasingly important role in the defense against malware, ransomware, and other attacks from cybercriminals.
Anytime your system is down, it costs you money every moment. As reported in Computer Weekly, the industry analyst firm Gartner estimates that the cost of a downed system per minute ranges anywhere between $5,600 and $300,000, depending on the scale and work of the organization.
When your system fails, you don’t have a minute to spare. And if your backups fail? You could be out of luck. Backups and the Rise of Ransomware While natural disasters and power failures pose a certain threat to your system, the looming threat of ransomware and other cybercrimes is one of the biggest reasons that every Friday the 13th deserves a star on your calendar.
Ransomware attacks, in particular, are on the rise. In fact, between 2019 and 2020, ransomware attacks rose by 62% across the globe. And in North America? The increase from 2019 to 2020 was an astonishing 158%. According to commonly accepted estimates, a ransomware attack happens every 11 seconds in 2021 — at least 31.5 million ransomware attacks predicted this year.
What does this mean for organizations? Not only do firms need to consider their security practices, but they also need to give major thought to their backups — and whether or not they are effective.
The goal of any backup testing is to be absolutely sure that your organization can retrieve the data you need to continue your operations. This will require having the right policies and procedures in place (like a disaster recovery plan) to ensure business continuity and data protection.
What should your policy include?
Recovery point objective (RPO), or how old your most recent backup should be; the amount of data loss your organization can tolerate and still regain operations.
Recovery time objective (RTO), or how quickly your systems are recovered.
Without testing, not only do you not know if your backups will work when you need them, but you also won’t know if they meet your RPO or RTO.
So, what should your test look like? You should consider the following factors as you plan your backup verification: What to Test
This means testing to be sure you can restore files, folders, and data volumes from your backups. The recovery of your databases is key. You’ll want to factor in restoring server and/or network-attached storage volumes for unstructured and user data. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure that if there are outages that damage your entire IT environment that you can restore everything, not just your data.
Other things to test include:
If you can spin up new hardware if your hardware fails
If you are able to restore from both full and partial restores
If you can restore data stored off-site, in Software-as-a-Service applications, and in the cloud
The next step is to discover whether or not your backups actually work. This is easy to test with things like removable media, but you should also check to ensure that your recovery software is capable of restoring data from disks, offsite data centers, and the cloud. After all, moving large volumes of data is not always easy.
Testing will help you determine if there are any weak spots in your data recovery plan and where they exist. You can also determine if your current data recovery solution meets your RTO and RPO guidelines.
Your backup verification test is also an important time to discover if the right data is recovered to the right systems. While some backup solutions can check logical recovery, you’ll want to check yourself to guard against data corruption during the recovery process.
Also, this is the moment to find out if your business continuity measures operate correctly during an outage and that ransomware protections remain in place during data recovery from offsite media.
Lastly, backup recovery verification isn’t a one-and-done process. You need to verify that your backups work consistently and that they work consistently throughout your entire organization. This means that:
Backups are consistent from department to department and application to application.
Backups are robust and consistent over time.
Backups are consistent from in-house, external, and cloud data stores.
An entire network, database, or enterprise would be a terrible thing to lose. And it would likely be a death knell for many organizations. While it’s important to mark dates like Backup Day on your calendar, it’s even more important to have the right tools in place so that you’re always ready.
Retrospect is here to offer support for ransomware protection, disaster recovery, data protection, and backups so that when the unthinkable happens, you’re ready to handle it all in stride. No matter your industry or line of work, we’ll provide the expertise and tools you need to rally in the event of a failure, malicious attack, or other disasters.
To learn how we can help your organization stay ready for anything, connect with us today.
JG Heithcock is GM at Retrospect and has eighteen years experience in the storage and backup industry.