There are some scary statistics out there regarding restoring your computer data after some sort of loss.  Here are some examples:

  • 6% of all PCs will suffer an episode of data loss in any given year. Given the number of PCs used in US businesses in 2003, that translates to approximately 6.6 million data loss episodes. At a conservative estimate, data loss cost US businesses $17.8 billion in 2003. (The Cost Of Lost Data, David M. Smith)
  • 30% of all businesses that have a major fire go out of business within a year. 70% fail within five years. (Home Office Computing Magazine)
  • 93% of companies that lost their server room / 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)
  • American business lost more than $7.6 billion as a result of viruses during first six months of 2003. (Research by Computer Economics)
  • Companies that aren’t able to resume operations within ten days (of a disaster hit) are not likely to survive. (Strategic Research Institute)

A couple weeks ago I had been working on a spreadsheet that took me a day and a half to create the fields and forumulas and put in all my data.  It was information I had gathered from several sources between accounting programs, PSA, and CRM sources.  I had then projected out some sales opportunties that we had within our existing client base.

I was excited because I felt we had discovered some hidden opportunities to provide a new service to our clients and give them added benefit.  That was started on Friday then completed on Monday.  On Friday, a fellow employee had opened the spreadsheet to edit some data then went home for the weekend.  On Monday, that employee was out sick and the spreadsheet was still open on his desktop.  Surprisingly, when I opened the spreadsheet it didnt give me a notification that someone had the spreadsheet open and I continued through the whole day inputing data.  On Tuesday when that employee returned, he noticed he had the spreadsheet open and clicked save and close; OVERWRITING ALL THE CHANGES I HAD MADE ALL DAY MONDAY!!  When I re-opened the file on Tuesday afternoon the file was blank.  Nothing from Monday was there.  I was panicked and frustrated to say the least.  The thought of spending another day re-creating that spreadsheet was daunting.  The restore game began.  For some reason our local backup had failed the night before making that spreadsheet potentially lost.

 Last resort, off-site backup restoration.  We logged in and restored the file from ouroff-site backup, and viola, there it was in all its glory, my spreadsheet.

Now this was not going to shut my business down if had we lost this spreadheet but it really got me thinking about the importance of the backup process.  And more importantly the testing and restoration process.  Here at AndersonPC we follow this process:

  • All backup solutions must be able to report into our monitoring systems
  • Each month a test restore is done to ensure our backups are truely there
  • Tape Backups must be replaced by disk backups (for speed of restoration and testing and reliability.)
  • Off-site backups (at least critical files) are now a required part of each of our new Anderson360 packages

We have a detail process of reporting and accountability to make sure our clients backups are happening and available when a restore is required.

Remember, it’s not if, but when systems fail, you will need your backups for restore.  Make sure they are there and ready to go.