What to do if your data backup fails: 5 step guide for small business

IT Consultancy for small to mid sized businesses can help with your data backups

You’ve taken the time to be proactive, protect your business and get your data backed up. But what happens when the backup goes wrong?

It’s likely that you need that crucial backup you made because something else has gone wrong and you need to restore your business data. But unfortunately, server data backup failure is all too common and small business owners are left in a sticky situation. Let’s find out what you can do about it, and how you can prevent it.

Before we start, we’ll just remind you that if you don’t have a backup, you should probably look into it!

Check, check, check

Backups can fail for all sorts of reasons. The disks (or tapes, if you’re old school) can fail. The programmes that run backups can fail. There might be too much data to store.

The key here in preventing a backup failure is checking that the backup has been successful. Like, a lot of checking. Backups need to be integrity checked, restored and tested to make sure they’re working properly. And that they can be accessed when you really, really need them!

Step one: Check for sneaky backups

So, the backup has failed. We’re here. It’s happening. The first thing you should do is assess the damage and find out what you do, and don’t have.

Do you have any remote backups? Even just by chance? Has anyone in your business or existing IT support team taken a backup ‘off the record’ at any recent time?

It could save the day!

Step two: Assess the device that’s failed

There are a variety of ways you can assess the device that’s failed. And we say this with no bias whatsoever: Get a professional in immediately!

This is your first port of call. Sometimes, backups can be easily recovered depending on the state they’re in. But as you can imagine, this also depends on the state of the skillset for those trying to recover the data!

Think of all the money you could save if you could fix this yourself, right? Unfortunately, even with the best intentions, delving into a data recovery operation can make things much, much worse unless you have professional experience.

Unless you’ve got the IT skills (and the swag that we have), please don’t ‘try this at home’. There probably isn’t going to be ‘one you made earlier’ to fall back on.

Your friendly, neighbourhood IT company

Yep, you guessed it. It's us! We can help with data and backup recovery. And we ain’t afraid to plug ourselves right here, in the middle of this blog post.

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Step three: Send it off to a specialist

If you don’t have any sneaky backups we mentioned earlier, it’s time to send your data off to a specialist IT company or data recovery service. They will help you to manage your expectations and give you an idea of when, and if, you can get your data back.

They can also help you to plan how to get your (hopefully) recovered data back into a useable state.

Confident male IT technician holding digital tablet analysing servers in rack at datacenter.

A quick story time

Data and backup recovery is a service we pride ourselves on here at Kyte. We can usually fix our client’s issues in-house. But if the data is in a right pickle, we use our partners Ontrack who are world leading data recovery experts. They specialise in technical recoveries. And we’re not being paid to post this, they’re just that good.

We had a new client recently whose server failed, and they didn’t have a server backup. It was the dreaded case of turning up on Monday morning and nothing worked. We assessed that the drive was corrupted beyond our data-saving-savvy (it was pretty bad).

So we shipped it off to Ontrack. Within 10 days, the data was back and ready to go. And if you’re willing to pay a little bit more, it can be back in your hands within 24 hours. It’s as simple as that. Phew!

Moral of the story? Make sure you have a reliable backup in place and don’t rely on running your entire business from one standalone server.

Step four: Figure out how to run your business

In the meantime, while you wait for your data to be assessed and recovered, think about how to run your business. You will want to mitigate the damage to your business operations and potentially, your reputation. Especially if you are not able to restore your data.

You will need a plan. And this is where disaster recovery plans come into play. If you don’t have one, make sure you think about it. If you do, great – why are you even here? Kidding. You might decide to go back to basics with the old faithful pen and paper!

You’ll also need to think about what you need to do when, and if, you get your data back. Whether it’s a database, or files and folders, you’ll need a migration plan to get it. This might include a new device (such as a new server), and an expert to do the migration and upload recovered files to a new system.

Step five: Prevent it!

Really great IT companies, like us, offer very advanced server backup plans called ‘BCDR’. This is Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery.

From an IT perspective, this includes systems that take hourly backups of your servers. Then, once a day, it will integrity check by launching local copies of your servers and infrastructure, checking if it’s correctly running, then sending it to the cloud. So you’ll have both local and remote copies of working versions of your data.


Kyte IT, will you save us?

Why yes! Here we are, to the rescue! We can help you in the midst of a data backup disaster. And we can help prevent one.

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