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Backup and Recovery Testing

Introduction

Most people work with data. Data can be as simple as storing a file in the system or email conversation between colleagues. Data can be as complex as storing confidential data across multiple devices through a complex network. Generally speaking, data comes in various forms – customer profile, messages, internet bandwidth, contact, documents, files, pictures, certificates, music, audio, video. It is important for people and companies to store the data. At the event of an emergency data loss, people become interested in data backup and recovery. The prudent companies work on actively testing for the data backup and the testing of the recovery.

Let’s look at the various terms of Data Backup and Recovery testing in detail.

What is data backup?

Data backup is a process of making a second copy and in some cases multiple copies of data. This is done for retrieval of duplicate data after a data loss event. In early days data was stored on a computer’s hard drive and they were copied into floppy disks, compact disks. With the invention and widespread use of Solid State Technologies, wireless systems, large amount of data could be backed up on remote devices and downloading of large amounts of data into small portable devices are possible. With cloud computing data backup on the cloud storage is occurring.

What is data backup testing?

Backup testing is a process to ensure that a backup plan will work the way it is supposed to after a real emergency. This kind of testing can involve many different types of analysis, from basic file recovery tests to detailed scenario testing. In terms of the actual work done in backup tests, executives or other leaders can plan general testing such as scenario-based operations testing and testing for backup power sources. In terms of actually testing IT systems for backup and recovery, these tests may be as diverse as simulating the loss of simple data files or an entire server; looking at backup processes for operating systems, databases and applications; or testing failback and failover processes and looking for accurate IT responses to a range of events.

What is data recovery?

It is the process of taking data that is stored in the backup in either the same device from where the data was backed up or into a different device altogether. This data is called recovered data. Most common scenario where this is used is when an end user purchases a cell phone and wants to move the contacts from the old cell phone to a new cell phone. The user stores all the contact data from the old phone into the backup and recovers the backup data into the new phone device.

What is data recovery testing?

A recovery test is the process of assessing the effectiveness of an organization’s software and methods of replicating data for security and its ability to reliably retrieve that data should the need arise. Backup and recovery testing is an essential part of a disaster recovery plan.

Disaster Recovery Plan

A disaster recovery plan is a documented, structured approach that describes how an organization can quickly resume work after an unplanned incident. A disaster recovery plan is an essential part of a business continuity plan. It is applied to the aspects of an organization that depend on a functioning IT infrastructure. A disaster recovery plan aims to help an organization resolve data loss and recover system functionality so that it can perform in the aftermath of an incident, even if it operates at a minimal level.

Need for Data Backup and Recovery Testing

There is a need to continuously test for data backup and recovery of the backed-up data. Things related with the system backed-up changes with time. There may be new servers added without the knowledge of web administrator. There may be new software updates or new operating system upgrades. There may be new processes. There may be Storage growth in the system.

How to test for data backup and recovery

The best way to test is by simulating real-world data loss scenarios like they are actually happening in real life and then taking a backup to test and continue using the system as before. It should be scheduled once a year and it should vary at different times. The system should have a plan for disaster. A well thought out data backup and recovery plan has these questions answered. How much of data to retain for future uses. How fast should the data be retrievable. How much data is one willing to lose. Will there be any compatibility problems when working with old data.

Conclusion

Data is everywhere. Important data needs to marked as necessary to backup. Backups should take place periodically. Recovery testing of the backup should be tested periodically. These are part of a disaster recovery plan.

 

 

About Preethi Natarajan

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