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5 Unexpected Yet Common Data Backup Obstacles

Modern looking server rack

Many organizations have some type of data backup and disaster recovery solution in place—but they believe that fact alone checks this task off their list. But these organizations often run into obstacles that limit their ability to effectively back up their data and recover it after an incident or a disaster. 

Let’s look at five unexpected yet common obstacles that organizations can assess to see if their data backup and disaster recovery solution is working effectively.

1. Data storage limitations

When organizations use servers, external hard drives, or other media to back up their data, the physical limitations of the storage devices can cause problems—especially if you want to back up everything (or at least all your critical data). Running into storage limitations means you have to choose what data gets backed up (meaning some data doesn’t get backed up). Media like external hard drives are expensive and fill up fast. Servers are more robust but also run into storage limitations quicker than expected. 

The key is to plan for the storage you need and understand the costs across onsite and offsite data backup storage. For example, you might store most of your data offsite in a low-cost cloud storage service while only storing temporary full backups of your day’s data onsite. This way, you would make sure all your data is backed up while realistically working around onsite data storage limitations. 

2. The unreliability of manual backup

Manual backup is always a weakness with an organization’s data backup and disaster recovery solution. We know your employees are dedicated and work hard to ensure that data backups take place with servers, external hard drives, or other media. Technology, however, always involves risk when something is completely reliant on people rather than assisted by automation. Your non-technical employees are busy enough with the job you hired them to do. When work gets busy, data backup can fall to the bottom of their list. 

An automated data backup and disaster recovery solution, with oversight by IT professionals, eliminates the risks of a manual solution. Automation ensures onsite and offsite data backups occur regularly on time, every time. 

3. Timeliness of data backups

Some organizations may have appropriate storage and the ability to conduct manual backups on schedule. Yet, they may stumble over timeliness. We’ve seen many cases where organizations just aren’t backing up data enough. Monthly is usually not enough. Weekly is better but still puts an organization at risk. “Whenever” or an irregular schedule is also risky. Again, automation can help with timeliness and increase the frequency of data backups. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a situation where you haven’t backed up in a while and you lose critical data. 

4. Uncertainty

This is a vague term that we often use to include a wide range of risk factors related to an organization’s data backup and disaster recovery solution. “Uncertainty” means that even if you have a data backup and disaster recovery solution in place, it’s not guaranteed that it will work properly when you need it. 

Some areas of uncertainty include: 

  • Lack of testing: When you don’t test, you don’t know if your data backup will allow you to recover your data.
  • Backing up critical data: Is your critical data backed up? Many organizations overlook important data when configuring their data backup and disaster recovery solution.
  • Configuring your data backup properly: This uncertainty often occurs when organizations use consumer-grade data backup solutions and leave the default settings turned on. Confusion can also sometimes exist between cloud storage and cloud backup. 
  • Accommodating new software and applications: You’ve been doing your data backups for years. Now, you have new accounting software. How will you back up all this new data? Do you have to work with the software vendor? Are you able to back up the entire application, databases, and data? New software and applications are often complex, and uncertainty arises about backing them up properly. Even if you back up all the data within an application, you may not be able to restore it after an incident. 
  • Availability: After a disaster, you’re ready to restore your data through your backups. How? In other words: 
    • How long will it take to restore your data? 
    • What will be accessible first? Your most critical data? 
    • How will it be available? Is it stored in the cloud so that you can access it with a computer and an internet connection? Or only after you order a new server that takes weeks to arrive? 

Your organization can lessen data backup uncertainty by planning, with the help of IT professionals, to account for all scenarios under which you will need to restore your data in the event of a disaster. 

 

While these common data backup challenges plague many organizations, they can be overcome through a data backup and disaster recovery strategy that includes: 

  • Onsite data backup 
  • Offsite data backup 
  • Periodic data backup testing 
  • Real-time monitoring by IT professionals to address issues 

Need help addressing your data backup challenges? Fill out the form below and we’ll schedule an initial call to learn more about your organization and answer your questions.