Thursday, August 23, 2012

Backups . . . OMG People . . . Test!

Maybe it's because I've been doing a series on Backups (See this post, this post, this post, and this post), but I've heard some horror stories this week.

- The backup that was never tested until after a hard drive crashed
- The backup that couldn't be retrieved from off site
- The partnership dissolved after one person didn't test backups and the company paid the price

This morning, one of my coaching clients told me about a prospect who has consistent disc errors on their server. He doesn't know whether the backup images are any good because the IT support company that "manages" the system only shows up when something breaks.

Wait. Stop.

So . . . the sequence will be 1) Drive fails, and then 2) We test to see whether we have good backups. If good, then 3) We restore the data.

I'm not kidding. This stuff keeps me awake at night. As my friend reported, "This guy doesn't know that he has an imminent hard drive failure on his hands." Luckily, he gets to meet with the prospect tomorrow and report these findings. Let's home the hard drive doesn't crash in the next 24 hours.

Luckily for this small business, my friend called him to offer a free network health checkup. With a little more luck, they can save this business and put a good system in place before it dies.

The funny thing is, businesses should care about the system that keeps them in business. And at some level they do. But too many businesses have never taken this seriously. And year after year, businesses fail due to data. There's no excuse for this!

You can't take care of all the people out there who haven't invested in protecting their own businesses. But you CAN make backups - and testing backups - a high priority in your business. You CAN audit every client backup in the next month and give them a report on their systems. And you CAN make regular testing part of your monthly maintenance process.

Remember the mantra: If you don't test your backup, you don't have a backup!


Life After SBS: Making Order Out of Chaos

Please join us October 11th in Las Vegas, NV for a special all-day training on Life After SBS.
October 11th, 2012
9 AM - 4:00 PM
 Price includes lunch, snacks, and drinks.

More Info

 Live Seminar - One Day Only With Karl W. Palachuk (CEO Small Biz Thoughts, author, blogger) and Manuel Palachuk (CEO Conceptual Age Consulting, author, blogger). In addition to writing The Network Migration Workbook, we have worked together for seven years and developed some great "best practices" that are serving us well as we prepare for the SBS End of Life. 

This seminar is part of the SMB Nation Preday Events. SMB Nation's Fall Conference is October 12-14 at the Rio in Las Vegas. Early bird pricing is now in effect at This event is not associated with SMB Nation itself, but we have worked with Harry for eight years to put on some kind of preday event. 

This year's topic is extremely timely and important: What do next! The clock is ticking on SBS and you need both a business plan and a technical process for moving from SBS to the Next Big Thing. 25% of this seminar will be on business model considerations for moving to stand-alone servers, cloud services, and hybrid combinations. 75% cover the technical click-by-click of moving to other services. 

And OF COURSE we'll show you how to do this with Zero Downtime. More details are at This is a $399 seminar - and we think you save WAY more than that with the first client you migrate off SBS. 

But we also have some special pricing for you. Here's the run-down: Everyone who registers during August pays $199 September Registration is $299 And October Registration is full price at $399 

Do yourself a favor: Register today!


  1. You are so right Karl, I see it everyday too. Backups are the means to the end, not the end themselves. Tend end goal is eliminating downtime and loss of data, not checking the box that the backup tape were switched.

  2. You can test backups and have elaborate procedures in place to do so. But some clients don't see the value in paying for this service until they have a genuine need to restore either a whole system or important file.

    We make this service available to clients, but make a point of telling them that if they don't go for it then it will be their fault should the day come when a usable backup is required and the procedure has not been tested.

    Some customers absolutely go for it and we do well out of testing it for them. Others don't and that is fine from our point of view, it's their decision and they take responsibility for it.

  3. As a managed service provider, we build it into our service and just do it. But even then, if we have a client who doesn't go along with the process, we send a memo stating that we can't be responsible for their recovery in case of failure. It's a real wake-up call to them and they come around.


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