Here’s a story, of a lovely lady,
who was too busy to make a backup of her own,
then one day it all went wrong,
and she was befuddled,
because her file was gone…
Yeah, I know, that’s a terrible attempt at parodying an excerpt from The Brady Bunch theme song, but it illustrates the main point to this blog post, which is why you need to have a quality data backup and recovery plan, and it alleviates my burning desire to do a Brady-related blog post at the moment. So bear with me during my self indulgence, as I try to convert you backup agnostics into believers, and you believers into testifying champions of the value of quality data backup and recovery plans.
I’m sure if The Brady Bunch was ever turned into a contemporary television show, there would be an episode where Jan fails to make a backup copy of their school report, and then that report would end up as a missing or damaged file. Then Jan would panic and have a meltdown because once a file is damaged, or missing, more often than not, she, just as you would be, is just up the proverbial creek, without the convenience of a paddle. Mike Brady would then have to teach her one of those hard-to-swallow life lessons.
Here’s a summary of how that might go:
Interior: Brady home, Jan is using her laptop while lounging on the couch, munching on milk and cookies to feed her active brain. Bobby opens the sliding door, but doesn’t enter because he is knocked down by an overly excited Tiger, who goes straight for Jan… and the cookies.
Jan: ARRGGH! TIGER! No!
Jan’s screaming continues as milk flies into the air. A slow motion shot follows the milk up, and then down onto her laptop computer. The sound of fizzling electronics comes through loud and clear, then the laptop screen goes black.
After Bobby and Jan wrestle Tiger to get him under control.
Alice: Look at this mess. Tiger must really love my homemade peanut butter cookies.
Jan: He sure does. He knocked me over and made me spill my milk on…
… my …. laptop…
Oh NO! My report!
Jan goes into an emotional meltdown, and begins frantically hitting buttons trying to get it to show some signs of life again. It just won’t. It is dead as dead can get for electronics.
Alice: You’ve been working on that paper all quarter. I’m sure you had a backup of that file somewhere didn’t you Jan?
Jan doesn’t answer, but the look of horror on her face is enough of an answer for Alice.
Alice: Oh dear, wait until your father gets home.
Interior Brady home
Mike Brady Enters
Mike: Honey, I’m home.
Carol: Hi Mike, boy has it been a long day here. I think we need you to have a word with Jan.
Mike: What’s wrong?
Carol: She lost her report. The one she’s been working on all quarter.
Mike: Can’t she just print it out again?
Carol. No. The file is gone. It’s never even been printed.
Mike: No backup?
Carol: No backup.
Mike: Oh dear.
Carol: Yeah, she’s upstairs crying right now.
Mike: I’ll go have a talk with her, these lessons are hard for teenagers to understand.
Mike goes upstairs, knocks on Jan’s door. He can hear her crying, and tearing the Macklemore posters down from her collaged wall.
Jan: Come in
Mike: Thank you.
I hear you have had a rough go of it today?
Jan: Yeah, dad, I did. The laptop got fried in a milk bath, and now my entire report is just… it’s just gone.
Mike: No backup?
Jan: No. I just wasn’t thinking.
Mike: Well, honey, these lessons have to hurt. Losing something we worked so hard to get so easily, is never easy to accept, but it does happen if you don’t take precautions.
Mike: Yes, precautions. Like in this instance, a simple cloud backup solution would have backed up your data at an off-site location, and the destruction of your laptop would be just, ha, just another of Tiger’s misadventures.
Jan: Why didn’t I do that? Why!
Mike: Well, it’s easy to overlook the basics. Sometimes we need little incidents like this to remind us to cherish the little things, pay attention to details, and above always, protect ourselves and our data with a good data backup and recovery plan.
So why in the world would we go through the trouble of setting up a Brady Bunch themed blog post to deliver a message about data backup? That’s simple.
Backing up your files is just something that should be that elementary these days. It’s like doing your chores, being honest, and trying to always do the right thing. It’s just what should be done. It’s lessons like these that were at the heart of the Brady Bunch, and the reason it was so successful. The stories were relatable to everyone, and protecting your data is something everyone needs to consider. Yet, some people don’t do it.
We recently encountered a situation where a client’s digital file was damaged, and, despite its importance, there was no backup for it ANYWHERE. As we explain this situation a little further you’ll see just how much of a bonehead move this is. In Brady Bunch terms, it is the equivalent of adding Cousin Oliver to the cast, or letting me write episodes of the show.
We got the call on a Thursday afternoon.
“I can’t get my computer to work,” the lady said, somewhat panicked.
As she explained the problem, it was clear there was a major issue with her hard drive. It was fracked beyond belief, which wasn’t much of a surprise given it was an older machine, and these parts don’t last forever.
We told her to bring it in so we could see if anything on it was recoverable. She had it here the very next morning.
“The only thing I really care about is this one Excel file. I’ve been working on it for 15 years,” she said.
“Yeah,” she replied. “15 years. It’s the statistics of every league game played for the past decade and a half, and this file was the only copy.”
She went on to explain that she kept statistics for a recreational sports league, and for the past 15 years she had been the official keeper of the stats. She did this on the same Excel file year after year. Yet, for some reason, it never dawned on her that she should make a backup of the file.
Now all the old records are gone, but more importantly, the new records were gone too. An entire season brought to its knees by a tech disaster.
We did what we could to recover the file, but while our recovery methods were able to recover some files, the important one just wasn’t one of them. The only option left was to send this drive off to be really dissected and searched by what are essentially forensics experts.
The reality of the situation is this.
Had she backed up the file online, which is free to do via a number of services, the disaster could have been avoided, and not cost her a thing.
Since she didn’t, and a valuable file was lost because of it, she not only had to pay us to try to recover the file, but she’ll also have to pay A LOT more to have every byte on it analyzed in hopes of being able to recover the missing file.
Now think about this in relation to your business. Most people have some form of backup running today, but what we find when we evaluate these backup systems is that most are inadequate at best. The biggest issue we find is just not keeping an actively backed up copy somewhere off premises. So yeah, the hardware is in place, or the software is in place, but it isn’t being used regularly, or properly. Usually automatic backups aren’t being made on a regular basis, or backups are being made, but they are all being kept on-premises where the data could be destroyed in a natural disaster.
On top of that, many times we are finding that backups are being made, they are even being transferred off-site, but the problem comes during the restoration process. Nobody knows how to, or whether they even will, restore properly when needed. In other words, no checks are being done to be sure the backups are in working order. The big issue is without some professional guidance when setting up a data backup and recovery plan, many people forget that it is just that, a plan that includes a process and it ultimately relies on diligence to be effective. It’s not a set it and forget it kind of computer solution. It has to be actively worked.
This is why we rarely do a data security analysis for a business and find their data is 100% protected and recoverable during an emergency situation. The process is usually missing one or two steps.
Given the importance of keeping your data safe, so you can have continuity to your business flow, no matter what happens, we’re surprised at the shortcomings we find.
That’s why we continually remind businesses who take the issue of data backup and recovery lightly that it only takes one good glitch to wipe out your data, and that one good glitch is enough to not only bring your business to a complete halt, but if you tried to recover any of your customer information or financial records, then you would have to spend out the wazoo for services that might only recover 10% of the information — if you’re lucky.
At that point it’s no longer a rebuilding process for your business. You’re straight up starting over. Who can afford that?
Sure, backing up the massive amounts of data most businesses should be backing up off premises, like for example in the cloud, does cost a few bucks every month.
But so what?
Isn’t it worth paying a few extra bucks per month to ensure that no matter what happens, you will be able to pick up, right where you left off, should something go terribly wrong. With a good plan in place you would be facing a mere setback, and not insurmountable odds that will likely force you to close shop forever.
We can help you reduce your potential for loss, and relieve your anxiety, with one FREE data analysis. What we do is we evaluate your digital security and how well your data is being protected in the case of a disaster, and how quickly your network could be back up and running if you had to restore your network from your backup source.
We take a no BS, nuts and bolts, look at things. No high pressure sales. No hidden fees.
So how much is your data worth to you?
How many days could you continue to do business without it?
How much money would you lose every day your data is not available?