You Have a Backup of Your Data: Right?

Most everyone answers yes to the backup question,

yet companies experience backup problems and data loss at a surprising rate. Sometimes it’s just a particular database or file they can’t restore, but we get calls from companies that have experienced catastrophic server failure and are utterly panicked to discover they don’t have a restorable backup.
How does this situation occur? Even companies managed and staffed by smart, capable people can find themselves dealing with backup problems and data loss. Some of the reasons we’ve seen include:

  • There was a change in staff, and the new employee didn’t get the backup steps exactly right or wasn’t trained adequately.
  • Even though backup procedures were followed precisely and consistently, the backup equipment failed to create a recoverable backup and the company couldn’t tell there was a problem.
  • The system wasn’t documented completely and steps started being left out over time.
  • And here’s the main reason that data loss occurs: No one tried to restore from the backup so they had no way of knowing whether the data was recoverable or not. In other words, unless you test the backup by restoring some or all the data, you can’t tell whether you are backed up or not.

So, the purpose of data backup is really data recovery. That’s the end result of good data backup. Your backup system needs the right solution and consistent testing to make sure you are getting recoverable data.

Recommended Backup Approach

Here at NoCo Technology Solutions, we recommend a 3, 2, 1 approach to data backup.

  1. The 3 stands for 3 types of backups for your data. You may have an external hard drive with a copy of your data on it, a tape backup system, and another online backup. You then have 3 different backups, all using different media—an excellent system.
  2. The 2 stands for 2 locations. You do not want all your data and backups in the same physical location. That location is subject to the same disastrous events; whether it’s the smoke alarm going off and the sprinklers ruining equipment; to fire, flood, or tornado. You need a copy of your data offsite for true security.
  3. The 1 stands for 1 backup stored online. This completely separate backup is a great idea and definitely provides extra security; it just may not be financially feasible for some companies. Online storage costs can be high but if you can afford it, by all means do it. If you do, you’ll be the company that gets back up and running when a city-wide disaster strikes and can make the difference on whether your company is still in business a year later.

Statistics About Backups

While the following list of statistics about U.S. companies and backup failure are seen frequently on the internet, their original sources can’t be found. Their current accuracy is questionable but their message is clear: Create a plan and procedures so your business always has a current, recoverable backup available no matter what disaster occurs.

  • 25% of all PC users suffer from data loss each year. (Gartner)
  • 94% of companies suffering from a catastrophic data loss do not survive. 43% never reopen and 51% close within two years. (University of Texas Study)
  • 93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster. 50% of businesses that found themselves without data management for this same time period filed for bankruptcy immediately. (National Archives & Records Administration in Washington)
  • 77% of those companies who do test their tape backups found back-up failures. (Boston Computing Network, Data Loss Statistics)
  • 96% of all business workstations are not being backed up. (Contingency Planning and Strategic Research Corporation)
  • Every week 140,000 hard drives crash in the United States. (Mozy Online Backup)
  • 50% of all tape backups fail to restore. (Gartner)

Alesa Locklear provides content marketing; such as blogs, e-newsletters, and website content to companies wanting to stay in touch with prospects and customers. She can be reached at

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