Failed backups often become a nightmare only after the data is needed.
No one can dispute the importance of backup. After all, good, reliable backups are the backbone of any disaster recovery process. Yet, the news is still rife with articles about companies that have experienced data corruption or loss, only to discover that their backups could not be used to recover that data.
Arguably, the root cause for the inability to restore data comes down to one of trust. In other words, IT departments put far too much trust in the backup process and are confident that automated technologies have taken care of backing up critical data. An ideology that leads to the all too critical process of backup being forgotten about until failure raises its ugly head.
For many organizations, restoring data from a backup is thought of as a last resort, something to be done when all else fails. Much of the reasoning behind that comes from the adoption of business continuity technologies, such as data replication, redundant storage arrays, hybrid clouds, and numerous other technologies that provide consistent reliable access to data. Yet those solutions can fail when data becomes corrupted by something other than a hardware or software failure.
Take for example the rise in ransomware, a nefarious bit of malware that encrypts and locks data down until a ransom is paid. Numerous businesses have fallen prey to ransomware, only to find that paying ransom becomes the only way to recover their data. Business continuity solutions do little protect against ransomware, especially since the encrypted data is replicated across systems that are designed to only support failover events. What’s more, data replication solutions also fail when data is corrupted or destroyed by malware. Those solutions quickly replicate the damaged data across multiple systems, making it impossible to access an uncorrupted version of the data.
It is in those situations where traditional backups prove their worth. Properly executed backups allow organizations to roll back to a point in time before the data was encrypted or damaged. However, that only proves viable if the backup was executed properly in the first place. That is exactly where backup reporting comes into play. Backup reporting eliminates the tendency to leave the backup process to chance, or as a process that is left untouched or unmonitored, chugging away in the background of operations.
Reporting is the best way to validate that backups are actually occurring as planned and provide an audit trail that helps IT professionals to identify what backups are good and how far they can reliably roll the data back to bring systems back online. Backup reporting also meets several other strategic needs, ranging from validating compliance requirements to assigning accountability to also identifying when changes need to occur. With the constant flux that numerous systems experience, having a reliable audit trail, as well as proof of proper backup can prove to be the difference between a major failure and a recoverable event.