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Is Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan Proven?

When I ask a business owner about his data backup system, the typical answer is: We do a backup every day. The problem is, simply creating a daily backup isn’t enough to protect your data in the event of a catastrophic loss.  What you need is a proven backup system and a tested disaster recovery plan.

When considering your backup and disaster recovery system, and budgeting accordingly, here are some of the questions you need to ask – and answer – honestly:

  • If your server or workstation crashes or if a disaster destroys your office, will your backup allow you to restore your data?
  • If your office burns down, do you have a procedure in place for setting up operations at an alternate location? If yes, has this procedure been tested?
  • How much money will you lose for every day of down time if you’re not prepared? 

I have met many CEOs and business owners who have backup and disaster recovery plans. But they are just that: plans. Too often, these plans haven’t been put into place; and if they have been put place, they usually have not been tested.

Although putting your plan in writing is an important first step, a disaster recovery system is useless until it has been put into place, tested and is proven to work. And, your backup is worthless until it has been proven to restore data.

Here is one way to go about planning, implementing and testing your data backup and disaster recovery plan:

  • Create a written plan that outlines the steps to create a daily data backup and recover your systems should the need arise
  • For inclusion in your backup, take a look at the critical parts of your business that are managed on your computer systems and decide what programs and data you absolutely need to continue operations if your building is completely destroyed
  • Select an alternate location to store extra hardware and to serve as your temporary office in the event of an emergency (this could be your home, a satellite office or space in a friend or colleague’s office)
  • Test your plan by going through the motions of having your staff retreat to your alternate location, set up your extra hardware and restore your data from backup
  • If needed, make corrections to your plan and test again

Just as a grade school might practice fire drills or earthquake preparedness, it is important that you and your staff practice and test your backup and disaster recovery plan at least twice a year. This testing is the only way to discover problems in your plan and make corrections before it’s too late. By following these steps, you can rest assured that a disaster won’t prove your plan wrong.

Josh Stearns is Vice President of Sales & Marketing at AccuBuild. He can be reached by email at or by phone at 800-728-6853 x801.