World Backup Day on March 31 each year has a slogan ready-made by the calendar; don’t be an April Fool, backup your data. And that is what we do, we backup data day after day, month after month, year after year. All this backup activity begs the question, is a backup truly a backup if it cannot be restored?

Ever ask a group of IT administrators how many test disaster recovery? If you do, the answer will usually be about two or three out of ten, and that number is generous. In a recent CIO Insight presentation, they claimed only 60% of organizations surveyed had a documented disaster recovery plan and of those, just 40% actually tested it annually. That works out to fewer than one in four testing recovery. Here are two more questions; how do you know a backup can be restored if recovery is never tested? If you do not know if recovery is possible, how do you sleep at night?

In February, there was a Reddit discussion with the sensational headline GitLab.com goes down. Five different backup strategies fail! The original post linking to an article in The Register detailing the GitLab meltdown spawned more than 1100 comments, many that included personal stories of backup (read recovery) failures. One thing you can count on in a long Reddit thread is a great display of Internet wit and this one delivers. In honor of World Backup Day, here are a couple of my favorites.

Every company has a testing environment. If you’re lucky, they also have a production environment.

Backups are – at least statistically – relatively useless if they’re not at least reasonably statistically periodically tested/validated.

I love these posters. Many of them are not sleeping at night because they are spending those hours entertaining the 11,000 or so who read the GitLab thread.

The common theme is, have a disaster recovery plan, then test your disaster recovery plan!

The tyrant and one of the seven sages of ancient Greece, Periander, is credited with the quote, practice is everything. When responding to a data disaster, this is true. If you have not practiced recovery, you may be in for a long night or weekend or month or more.

My favorite saxophonist/jazzman, Charlie Parker, once said you’ve got to learn your instrument. Then you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on that bandstand, forget all that and just wail. This quote from one of the great musicians of the 20th century is perfect for those of us in the backup and continuity business. Practice recovery so that when you need to do it under the spotlight, you own the performance.

If you have read this far, I guess you now understand what World Backup Day is all about; recovery. Easy recovery, quick recovery, and complete recovery. So why do relatively few IT administrators create and test disaster recovery plans? Because it is hard, an inconvenience, and often a futile effort. We might call it World Backup Day, but for so many, it simply recalls backup failures and recovery pain.

Unitrends understands the need for a disaster recovery plan and that a plan that is not tested is almost assured to fail. That is why we have a free tool for Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Planning. It allows you to build and customize your own DR plan.

More importantly, we invented and built into our product Recovery Assurance technology to orchestrate, automate, and schedule backup recovery tests.

And we even created a poster for you to share in your break room to remind your end users about the importance of backup.

Several years ago, a customer sent us an email touting Unitrends as the best sleep aid on the market. He was no longer lying awake, worrying about backups and if they could be recovered. We loved it.

We know IT pros are often short on time, money, and resources, and something as important as disaster recovery testing is often set aside for other work. That is why, at Unitrends, we create products to make your life easier, and to do more with less.

We want you to sleep at night.

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