Backup is Nothing Without Disaster Recovery Testing

Let’s assume for a moment that your business is a step ahead of many companies out there – you have already thought about and implemented a backup and recovery strategy. This may have included implementing a simple backup strategy, or may be more wide ranging by including other areas such as disaster recovery, workforce continuity, business resumption and contingency planning.

During a recent study by Gartner (The Broken State of Backup by Dave Russell), there were some quite terrifying statistics highlighting one key fact – a backup and recovery strategy is only worth having if it is stress tested regularly.In fact, Gartner went so far as saying that exercising Disaster Recovery Plans is the most critical aspect of any business’s DR plans (after Day One implementation).

Here are the statistics (based on a study of how successful the last recovery exercise was):

28% of all recovery tests were fully successful (all service levels were met)

This figure is staggeringly low. Over 70% of all business who have spent time, money and resource on implementing a backup and recovery strategy are happy to admit in a survey that their recovery testing failed.

How badly did the recovery tests go? Gartner’s study drilled down even further:

11% of businesses who performed a recovery test admitted that the exercise was CANCELLED, because problems could not be resolved.

Incredibly, 1 in 10 recovery tests according to Gartner, are a complete failure. Or thinking about it another way, 1 in 10 businesses who have invested valuable budget in a recovery plan are completely wasting their money.

50% of businesses said that the recovery exercise encountered problems.

Exactly half of all companies would be in a very dire situation if they experienced real life data loss. One also thinks whether these businesses are meeting any compliance obligations they may have. It must be doubtful.

The balance of 11% were not sure how the exercise went. My guess would be not very well, and not knowing implies a false sense of security.

The message is simple. Once you have implemented your backup strategy – whether using traditional tape or an online backup service  –  it is essential to perform regular disaster recovery tests to ensure that every single server can be recovered within your RTO (Recovery Time Objective).

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