March 31st is a special date for technology enthusiasts. It is World Backup Day! Given the fact, we live in a digital and cloud-based data-driven world, this is often regarded as the day when people should reflect on data security, backup, and recovery. The world has witnessed a colossal surge in the amount of data being stored and exchanged each day. As such the malicious attacks and the risk to lose data have also risen proportionately, it is not wise to risk your data by avoiding a backup. By taking a backup you ensure that you have a safe copy of all your important data with you which can be easily recovered at a later date if required.

Various reasons that might lead to data loss –

  • The most dangerous way of losing your data is by malicious attacks, that until now have led to a data loss of around 4.1 billion in only the first half of 2019 itself. Since most of these attacks are targeted or financially motivated, the attackers try to use this data against the victim, and this further gives rise to a variety of cybercrimes.

  • Accidental deletion is another reason for data loss. Although in this case, the data can be retrieved but it may incur additional charges. Therefore, to avoid this extra cost, you need to have a backup of your data ready with you in case any such mishap takes place. 
  • Data loss may also occur due to the technical glitches such as bugs in your software or a weak security patch.
  • When you are working on a file and it gets loaded from the secondary memory of the system to the primary memory of the system, hardware failure can corrupt your file and conjure up a data loss for you. 

What Does Data Backup and Disaster Recovery Mean?

Data backup and disaster recovery plans identify all the essential data points in your organization that require backups. Every firm needs such plans ready to be put into effect when there is a risk of data loss or a probability. Following are the two ways by which you can create a backup along with the steps to run recovery tests of the same – 

  • Spot checking file system backups

Spot checking file system backup involves creating a file to file a copy of the data present on your drive. This is the most basic level of creating a backup and is appropriate for PC and Mac users. People using server hard drives can also use this kind of backup method. 

How to do this –

  1. To test the spot-checking file system backup method, go to the file system that is being backed up. Now delete some of the files from your system and make sure that you have made a copy of the same, in another location or you can also make certain changes to these files. 
  2. Create a folder named “recovery test” and do not add any files to this folder. Now open the backup software you are using to create a backup of the files and restore the files you have made changes to or deleted from your system. 

Test this recovery method several times with different files and make sure to open the restored files for further verification. 

What do you need to check?  Check for the contents of the file, the compatibility of the restored file with your system, and if the backup software produces an exact copy of the file prior to being altered or not. 

Note: Whenever you are running a recovery test for such files, ensure that you use different files each time in order to ensure the credibility of the backup software.

  • Testing a full file system restore –

Another way to backup your data is by testing a full file system restore, which is applicable to PC, Mac, and Server hard drives. It is more advanced than the spot check one, as it creates a backup that protects your data loss in the event your drive gets completely destroyed, stolen, or corrupted.

This testing technique requires a huge amount of time and free space on your system. Therefore, make sure to go for a bootable drive or a server to create a backup of this data. 

How to do this – 

  1. Use your software to create a full-fledged backup of your current system files on the server or the bootable spare drive.

  2. Start by selecting random files from the spare drive and compare them with the files present on your system – Compare the properties and volume of the system disk and the server or the drive you have used for creating the backup.

After you have successfully created a backup, you can run a diagnostic check on the database. 

 

  • Database Recovery and Verification 

 

In order to successfully complete the database recovery and verification, the database must be tested repeatedly; This is done to ensure that it is free from any kind of error and data integrity is maintained. 

Database testing can be done on the system drive but it is advisable that you use a spare one just to keep the original data safe and secure. In case you do not have a separate drive, create a partition given that you have enough space on your system server or drive. 

Three ways to run database recovery and verification are:

  1. The first one is to run a spot check and check for each file by entering queries and comparing the retrieved results with the original data. If the results are matched, then the database is successfully backed up and data can be retrieved anytime.

  2. The spot check method can prove to be a bit strenuous at times, so testers use macro tests. The macro test is very much like a high-level mapping of the backup data and the original data. If the properties of both the databases match then the backup has been successful.

  3. The basic framework of this test is to connect your applications and the recovered database on the server and check if the applications run perfectly. If they do so, then the backup and recovery have been successful.

Conclusion 

These were some of the methods that are used to maintain data integrity. However, with the ever-expanding scope of technological advancements, new and effective methods are always out there which can be tested to maintain data integrity. To know about these methods or others, you can get in touch with our experts and get all the help you need with backing up your data.