We talk all the time about how important backups are. But sometimes it might seem like your mother telling you to eat your carrots because they’ll make you see in the dark. At some point, you’re going to turn around and say “Prove it.”
So here are three real examples of how important backups are to an organization. All of these stories actually happened with Network Depot clients (the company names and names of any people involved have been removed).
1) Why Do I Need Backups?
Although the answer might seem obvious to people who have been through a backup and recovery crisis, for others it’s not. Running a small business means keeping a close eye on expenses, and if you’ve never had a data crisis, you can find yourself wondering why you are paying for a service you don’t really use. This was the case with Customer #1. They had been a client of ours for a number of years, and decided that they didn’t want or need backups anymore.
In order to explain this story well, you are going to need a little lesson about servers. They are equipped with these drives called RAID that serve as failover systems for each other. The idea is that if one of these drives fails, the second drive will step up and keep the system running while the first drive is replaced, and vice-versa. This way, no time or data is lost. There are, however, extremely rare occasions where both drives will fail at the same time. And wouldn’t you know it, that is what happened to this customer.
Unfortunately, since they chose to discontinue their backups, the failed drives had to be sent to a third-party recovery company, to try and get all the data off the drives. Needless to say, this took time and was incredibly expensive. Although most of the data was able to be recovered, there was a portion of the data that was lost.
Lesson: Don’t stop thinking that your backup system is not important, because the minute you get rid of it is the minute you will need it. When it comes to losing time, money, and data, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
2) The $14,000 Reason to Listen to Tech Support.
A customer of ours was signed on to our most basic service plan, and they insisted on handling their own backups. They claimed the system they had worked very well, they even had a full-time in-house staff person responsible for managing their backups.
However, when we took a look, we immediately noticed the issues. The main issue was that both the hardware and software they were using were incredibly complex and outdated. Despite constant suggestions that they upgrade, they kept saying they were fine. Then one day, a drive went bad and needed to be replaced. Trouble was…they replaced it wrong, and the entire system blew up.
We had to send every single drive out to be taken apart and scanned individually to try and recover all of the data. If they had upgraded their equipment and program it may have taken only a day or two to get them up and running, but due to the outdated hardware and software it took 2 weeks and $14,000 to rebuild their server.
Lesson: Keep your backup system upgraded with the latest technology. It might be easier and cheaper to stick to the old, familiar process. But when push comes to shove, it could end up costing you $14,000 and weeks of productivity. Can you afford that? The reality is, backups are not the place to pinch pennies.
3) Communication is Key.
Not every company needs every single piece of information on every computer backed up every day. Sometimes there are only certain folders that contain information you can’t afford to lose. Customer #3 was this company.
We discussed a plan with them for only backing up certain folders, and expressed to them that they need to only be saving the important information to those folders. If they decided to start using a different folder, they needed to tell us so that we could map out a new backup strategy to make sure they won’t lose any important data. But, they didn’t.
They began saving information they needed to a different folder, and didn’t tell us. Then, when a problem arose, they lost almost 3 years worth of important information. Although we were able to recover most of the data off of old drives, there was still a significant portion they were not able to get back.
Lesson: Talk about your backups! Your IT support is there to manage your system, but are not mind-readers. You need to take on the responsibility of making sure that your system is backed up the way you need. Can you afford to lose 3 years worth of data? Don’t ever assume, ask.