Celebrate World Backup Day by Taking the Pledge and Taking Action

By Peter Bernstein March 31, 2014

Warning! As the advocates of World Backup Day 2014 proclaim in large type on their website, “Don’t be an April Fool: Be prepared; Back up your files March 31st."

This message is brought to all of us as basically a public service. It is absolutely important, and in the category of “keen grasp of the obvious,” but the realities are that it is stunning how many people and organizations put themselves at dire risk by not taking the proper precautions. As any individual who has experienced the blue screen of death on their PC, or has had their smartphone wiped clean, knows not having an up-to-date and secure copy of the things we all hold most dear to us someplace other than on our hard drives ranks right up there with having you identity stolen and you bank account emptied as a result, as a major catastrophe. 

That is true in spades as well for any business  of any size. And, while most organizations have disaster recovery/baked-up  capabilities  in place, it is somewhat disturbing how few actually stress test whether their physical precautions work and if everyone knows what to do in case disaster strikes.

An ounce of protection is worth more than a pound of cure

The good folks behind World Backup Day have been kind enough to provide the context as to why today is a great day to check you are not at risk. 

They even provide links as to how to backup your critical stuff either on a USB drive or online. 

Call me paranoid, but I do both. I learned the hard way many years ago that USB drives can be lost or destroyed. They also require a level of diligence, i.e., are mostly manual and hence easy to avoid. Without revealing my online backup vendor, I can say that I have peace of mind knowing that my files are automatically updated for storage, and retrieving “E”verything after a crash, which fortunately in many years has only happened once, was simple. Plus, the price is very much in most people’s perceived zone of reasonableness. I should add, I also have online identity protection and hope there is a worldwide day in support of that as well in the future.

The World Backup Day sponsors want you to acknowledge you are following best practices and will by taking the following pledge:

 “I solemnly swear to backup my important documents and precious memories on March 31st. I will also tell my friends and family about World Backup Day - friends don't let friends go without a backup.”

If you go to http://www.worldbackupday.com/en/  scroll down and take the pledge by clicking on the link for doing so on either Facebook or Twitter. 

Businesses need to be ready and on guard

On the enterprise side of things, you also might wish to check out the advice of online business backup solutions provider BUMI (Backup My Info!).  In celebration of World Backup Day, BUMI has some interesting insights to share about why backup is so critical and some suggestions as to what you need to be thinking about.

A BUMI study done in December 2013 surveyed IT consultants regarding their data backup and recovery tools, initiatives and concerns, and found that 39 percent of respondents did not believe their clients are properly prepared for a large-scale disaster or outage. As troublesome were the findings that 13 percent never check for backup errors and eight percent did so annually.

“Many businesses invest resources in their backup operations but don’t test the viability of their data recovery processes as frequently, making them vulnerable when an outage occurs,” said Jennifer Walzer, BUMI’s CEO. “Performing regular disaster recovery drills along with checking backup sets will ensure that businesses are safeguarding all of their data and putting them in the best position to overcome adversity if or when something goes wrong.”

 BUMI, in honor of the day, recommends the following:   

  •  Develop a Strategy: Know the most critical data sets of your organization, including applications with their current versions. Key stakeholders in the company will provide insight into which data sets will be critical in recovery and how quickly they need to be recovered. A formal document of this strategy should be created and kept up to date in a protected off-site location in the event that a disaster physically impacts your organization.
  •  Determine Your Time Window: After a disaster strikes, there will be some downtime before your business needs all of its applications and information accessible. Determine your RTO (Recovery Time Objective), and outline what the most important applications are and how quickly they need to be up and running. Build this information into your backup and recovery processes and budget.
  • Run Tests: It is much easier to work out problems in a backup recovery system before a disaster. Running drills on a monthly or quarterly basis will help your organization better prepare for these events, as well as help you become more familiarized with the recovery process, leading to a smoother transition should it ever be needed.
  • Define Roles: When disasters strike, it is very important for employees to know what their role is during this time period. Multiple things will need to get addressed quickly so it is very important for the IT team to have a game plan in place.

There is an old saying that, “It is better to be safe than sorry!” I don’t know about how you plan to celebrate. However, I have already taken the pledge, made sure “E”verything on my computer is backed-up on a drive and online, updated by anti-virus definitions, and made sure my subscriptions to all of my protection services are paid in full and have not expired. You might want to take a few minutes to do likewise. Happy World Backup Day!

Edited by Cassandra Tucker
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