Backups - This is the 50,000-foot view for business owners so you aren’t caught with your pants down. This is not intended to be an exhaustive discussion about the many nuisances of an IT backup scenario.
1. You should know where your backups live. You should know what specific storage contains your backups and where that storage is located. Is it on the premises? Is it in the cloud? Who has access to your backups? Do you have an offsite copy? Are backups done daily, weekly? Are the backups incremental or full?
2. You should know WHAT data is backed up in your business. Is your accounting software backed up? Is your business-critical software backed up? Are your user documents backed up? Do you even know what needs to be backed up? Imagine you’re an engineering firm your IT guy backed up our CAD software, and your CAD drawings, but forgot to backup the CAD drawings currently in use on your designer’s desktops? You lose the desktop; you lose the current work. There are a lot of moving parts in a good backup scenario, and you should be knowledgeable about that.
3. What backup software do you use? That’s a simple question I use to get a handle on what business owners know about their backups. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve received a correct answer. Veeam, Backup Exec, Carbonite? There are lots of options and each one has its strengths and weaknesses.
4. How long will a restore take? This seems like an innocuous question, but it’s important. Do you remember the Colonial Pipeline debacle when the computer systems for the company were encrypted by some bad actors, and the company paid several millions to get their data back? It wasn’t because they didn’t have backups, it was because it was going to take weeks to restore everything, and every day they were down they lost millions. How long it will take to restore from a catastrophe is an important question and business owners should know the answer.
5. Have you tested a restore from backup? This is the singular most important question that you need to know. I’ve seen masterful backups systems built and never tested and then when it was needed, it failed for various reasons. You really need to be sure your backups can be restored, and you need to test that often.