When did you last check your back up?

Sony

It's easily done. You've planned a secure back-up system for your data. The funding is all signed off. Your fabulous new system gets installed. Everything is up and running so you put any further thoughts of back-up out of your mind.

But the restore is the key factor. Is the data actually there? Does the system work properly? Is the media fault free and what unrecoverable data do you get? Most backup systems will be using tape in one form or another at some point in the backup and archiving process. Your IT department or data centre have specified the system but did anyone consider the media? What about the tape itself ? A system is only as good as its weakest link and the media is generally the first point that is checked when trying to resolve backup issues…but should that be the case?

It's true that most media is made to a similar standard in order to get certification from the hardware vendors but that's where the similarity ends. Tolerances exist between manufacturers that when benchmarked make for a shocking variation in quality. And then there's the service and support from the vendor to consider. Any media company worth dealing with should be happy to work with your other storage vendors to ensure your backup system is the best it can possibly be.

My recommendation? Check your backup regularly and do test restores, check your media supplier and talk to them directly. Get them to understand your specific needs and involve them as a partner in your data management process. Get them to prove how good their media and service really is.