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Trying to manage your own data backup using a “do it yourself” consumer backup service such as Carbonite or Mozy? If you have a backup, but you’re not test-restoring at least once per month, then you don’t really have a backup.

Here are five reasons why it’s so important to test your backup regularly.

1. Permission errors

Your backup software may try to back up files to which it doesn’t have access, due to Windows or Mac permission settings. Someone needs to be monitoring your alerts regularly so these issues can be fixed ASAP.

2. Errors caused by encrypted files

We’ve seen issues where a customer is sent files that are encrypted. Often this happens when a Mac user is sending photos to a Windows user. For some reason, the Mac OS often encrypts these files before sending them. The backup chokes because it can’t access the files. As with permission problems, these issues need to be corrected promptly. A professional will notice these issues and can decrypt the files and advise the user to request unencrypted files from the sender moving forward.

3. Connection issues (disrupted connections or slow upload speed)

Internet connection problems can cause time-outs or, worse, corrupted uploads. This means the data may not be intact. Even with the most sophisticated backup software, backed up data should be checked regularly by a human being to confirm the data is good.

4. Server side errors and corruption

While it’s unlikely, depending on how your backups are stored, it’s possible corruption or hacking attempts on the cloud side could damage your data. This may not be reported by the backup software.  Testing your data regularly is the only way to be sure it’s intact.

5. Human error

It’s happens all the time: someone inadvertently changes a setting without really knowing what they’re doing. Or maybe a user is tired of those annoying backup error messages, so he or she simply ignores them or, worse, disables them. You may not know any of this occurred until you have a failure or a ransomware attack and you go looking for that backup.

All of our backup services include monthly tests of the backup. Ask us about our backup services and disaster protection services.

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