Are You Making these Backup Mistakes?

You may think your organization is protected against system failures. But, are you making mistakes with your backup systems that could come back to haunt you.

Janco Associate Inc. has put together a list of what it calls “Top 10 Mistakes Made by IT Groups.” Sure the company is trying to sell something but that doesn’t diminish its list.

Here are its Top 10 Mistakes.

  1. Backing up only desktops and ignoring laptops, tablets, smartphone and other mobile devices
  2. Thinking that all that matters are mainframe or data center data bases
  3. Not understanding the differences in various deduplication solutions
  4. Not understanding what impact the backup processes have on users
  5. Not having a good grasp of the security implications due to disparate backup files
  6. Focusing only on what is needed today and ignoring future ramifications
  7. Not having a robust deployment solution defined
  8. Understanding the total cost of ownership for a solution or lack of a complete backup and security solution
  9. Ignoring BYOD implications and complications
  10. Not understanding the implications of the backup solution for disaster recovery and business continuity

Number one makes sense in the context of the Bring Your Own Device (BOYD) issue. (It also applies to number 9 as well.) “On top of the usual management and security reasons, inventory of all mobile devices working within a business is essential, alongside establishing use policies and protocol for how to handle mobile data in a crisis situation, said Chuck DeLouis, vice president of product management at Intronis Inc. in an article at

Understanding the differences in various deduplication solutions can be made somewhat easier thanks to a white paper from in Australia. It lists key things to look for when researching a deduplication storage solution, providing insight on solutions uniquely positioned to deliver business value.

Microsoft’s TechNet offers some good questions to consider to understand the impact backup processes have on users, as mentioned in number 4.

The questions are:

  • Has every option that you expect to use been tested?
  • Do automated backup instructions work?
  • Does the backup-and-restore process work properly?
  • After you make changes to the operating system (such as installing a service pack), or the backup program, does the backup-and-restore process work properly?
  • After you make hardware changes (such as installing a new controller or tape drive, or changing the BIOS on the motherboard) does the backup-and-restore process work properly?
  • When you change the hardware or software involved in a backup, how do you verify that you can use the old tapes?

The site adds, “Complete verification of the entire backup-and-restore process is critical. Develop backup-and-restore strategies with appropriate resources and personnel, and then test them. Testing backup strategies also demonstrates how much time is required to restore data. A good plan ensures fast recovery of lost data.”

Granted with some organizations moving to cloud backups the mention of tape drives seems antiquated. However, substitute cloud for tape and the lessons are still applicable.

Sarah Kuranda, writing at, has good perspective on this. “Whether they are facing the problem today or are anticipating it becoming one down the road, solution providers say that connectivity issues and a lack of bandwidth are posing challenges as they look to ramp up customer migrations to the cloud,” she says.

In other words, don’t skimp when it comes to your backup provider. Make sure both you and it have the bandwidth necessary to recover from a failure of your data. It could make the difference between being back up and running in hours – or days if you have skimped to save money in your operating budget.

Keith Griffin
Keith Griffin is an award-winning business writer and editor with more than 30 years experience as a journalist. His work has been published in The Boston Globe, Medical Economist, Good Housekeeping,, the Hartford Courant, CT Law Tribune and numerous other regional publications.