Modern computer users know that in order to avoid data loss, they need to regularly back up their most important files, ideally in several different physical locations. However, while many businesses and personal computer users take appropriate steps to back up their files, very few take the time to verify the quality of their backups. This step is incredibly important and can mean the difference between a minor inconvenience and a major catastrophe when a loss event occurs.
At Secure Data Recovery Services, we receive thousands of cases per year. In many instances, our customers implement strict backup protocols and expensive, redundant backup systems, only to lose data because they do not have a system in place for checking their second and third copies of their most important files.
Why Backups Do Not Always Prevent Data Loss
The problem is that data corruption, accidental file edits and other events can cause logical data loss. If you do not manually monitor the edits of every important file on your system or storage device, you might not notice this data loss at first. When you try to rebuild from a backup, you might not find an adequate copy of the data.
If you use an automatic backup program or system, you might also back up inadequate copies of your data. File corruption and other errors can prevent normal file access, leaving you without your most important files.
Businesses can also lose data unintentionally despite relatively strict backup policies. Every experienced system administrator knows that end users are ultimately unreliable. A business's employees may uninstall critical backup software or take actions that prevent that software from working effectively, regardless of whether they have administrator privileges or not. This is frustrating for IT departments and potentially disastrous for businesses.
Of course, there is an easy way to avoid these types of occurrences. By occasionally loading up your backups and checking your files, you can make sure that in an emergency, you can make an effective plan of response. Check that all of your most important files open properly and that your backups are up to date. You can also check file sizes or use utilities to verify your backups, but in our experience, personal backups are never completely safe unless you take the time to manually check a few files and folders.
Checking Data Backups on Enterprise Systems
In order to minimize their annual data recovery expenditures, many businesses run failure tests, in which system administrators must completely recreate a specific system from backups. Large, enterprise-level businesses also invest in archival backup systems to keep daily or weekly database backups, email archives and other important systems. These archival systems limit disaster recovery costs greatly and allow businesses to create system-wide restore points, which are critically important if system administrators do not immediately notice data loss. However, these backups also need to be tested regularly.
While this may sound like a major investment, American businesses lose billions of dollars annually in lost data, and an occasional system reliability test can help companies avoid these serious costs.
You should regularly test backups of your home PC, your work PC and any other storage systems that you use to store important data. Checking your backups and keeping several copies of critical files and folders will help you avoid the serious costs and uncertainty associated with data loss.
If you ever notice missing or corrupt files in a backup and you do not have a working copy of your data, immediately shut down both your primary data storage device and any data backup devices. Contact Secure Data Recovery Services at 1-800-388-1266 for more information.