Before I get started, let me be the first to acknowledge that I am guilty as charged. Like many of you, I’m creating an astronomical amount of critical data almost every day, with little to no knowledge that it is being securely and accurately backed up so that I may recover it someday. Working for a data recovery company for the better part of two years, I know a thing or two about the consequences of folks unable to restore backup data. In fact, prior to working at Kroll Ontrack, the idea of backing up data seemed mundane and tedious (unless it was happening behind-the-scenes somewhere). Needless to say, when you hear the data recovery horror stories that some of our customers share with us, you start to think that not backing up your data is a little short of a sin. But therein lays the question. Is the reason people experience data loss quite simply because they’re not backing up their data? The answer actually points to something far more compelling.
60 Percent of Backup Solutions Not Operating Correctly
In a recent survey of our data recovery customers, 80 percent of respondents had a backup solution in place; however, in 60 percent of the cases the data backup was not current or not operating properly at the time of loss. What didn’t surprise me about the survey results was the 80 percent of responses that indicated a current data backup solution. What continues to surprise me is the 60 percent that have no utility from their existing backup solutions! Of those respondents whose backup was not current or not operating correctly, 60 percent utilized an external drive solution while 15 percent leveraged either cloud or tape backup. We might be on to something there… External hard drive backup is still the most used and sought after approach to backing up both business and personal data.
I would argue that the technique of backing up data to an external hard drive is far from automated. And it is that lack of automation that can make backup technology become one of the most overlooked factors in an overall IT or Disaster Recovery strategy. I think part of this is the cultural mindset of backups too. In fact, how many of you find yourselves skipping the page about backing up to iCloud when setting up your new iPad’s? That’s an example of an automated backup utility that we often choose to ignore. The fact is that unless there is a certain element of hand holding in the backup world, the technology can be pretty useless.
After all, what good is a backup without:
- A user setting up a regular backup schedule
- Ensuring backups are running regularly in accordance with the determined schedule
- Checking backup reports for error indications or failures
- Testing backups on a regular basis to ensure data has been accurately captured and the files are intact
Let’s face it, the security of having a backup solution, while comforting, doesn’t answer the question of how you’re going to use it when you lose your data. In fact, Kroll Ontrack gets called in on numerous occasions to help customers that are often clueless about their backup technology and in some instances have no idea how to recover backup data. All of this is, of course, based on my humble opinion of what we might be seeing with backup solutions.
Why do you think there is such a gap between the number of individuals that are backing up their data versus those that can recover backup data data during a data loss event?