Why automated data backups still need to be managed
Backup — when it was done with tapes or other removable media — used to be a time-consuming, hands-on process, with a lot of opportunities for failure due to human error. So it’s not surprising that modern, automated, cloud-integrated backup solutions, like Barracuda Backup and Barracuda Cloud-to-Cloud Backup, have been welcomed by IT teams for just doing their job reliably in the background, with no need for human intervention.
But there are real risks to taking too hands-off an approach to managing your powerful new backup solution.
When your automated backup was initially installed, you configured it specifically to protect your existing data structures at the time. Have those changed? Have you added new servers, created new partitions, moved data stores from on-premises to cloud locations? Your backup configuration needs to be actively monitored and adjusted to keep up with any changes.
If you don’t know where different stores of data are backed up, how important each store of data is, and how to recover it rapidly in an emergency, you run the risk of a prolonged impact to operations.
If you have on-premises appliances as part of your backup solution, staying on top of your spare capacity is important — and so is making sure users are aware that a large addition of data could strain that capacity and potentially interrupt data-protection coverage.
One customer with 13 locations, each with a Barracuda Backup appliance with cloud replication, had plenty of backup capacity — until someone in the company sent multiple terabytes of GIS mapping data to each location, where it was immediately added to each backup appliance. Suddenly, capacity was an urgent issue. (Fortunately, when higher-capacity replacement units were overnighted to each location, they could be swapped in easily, without help from IT.)
Drill, drill, drill!
With a modern, automated backup solution, recovering lost data — whether it’s specific critical files or whole servers full of data — can usually be accomplished in minutes. But that’s only if the personnel involved have practiced the process and understand their roles and the capabilities at their disposal.
That’s why it’s critical to run regular drills with interdisciplinary teams, ensuring your data-restore operations are working correctly and that the process runs smoothly and quickly. It’s best to drill for multiple scenarios, such as a ransomware attack, an accidental deletion, or a need for a former employee’s OneDrive files that were deleted automatically at termination.
Automated doesn’t mean no-hands
By all means, enjoy your freedom from the drudgery of managing your old removable-media-based backup solution. But to optimize your modern, automated data protection, don’t neglect to monitor capacity and configuration, and run data-restore drills on a regular basis. Automation may have transformed backup, but the human touch is still required to fully protect your data.