Did the Dog That Didn't Bark Send You an Email?

If you did not receive a success/failure email about last night's backup, your company may be at risk.

  • Most business owners and managers know the importance of computer backups.
  • Many will assign backup responsibility to a trusted employee or third party IT consultant.
  • In your company, does the owner or some C-level executive know if last night’s backup succeeded or failed?

BEST PRACTICES: We recommend that your system send an email every day to the business owner (or a C-level executive) with the status of last night’s backup job: Success, Failure, or Warning.

Of course, it is important for the system to notify your IT support team if the backup failed. But that is not enough. Where is your positive assurance that the backup ran last night? That somebody looked at a failure alert? Attention to backups is not just an IT support responsibility.

Your safety net is expecting this email. Most days, you will receive a routine email that takes 3 seconds to read. “Backup on dd/mm/yyyy at HH;MM finished successfully”.

Consider this: if you expect a daily report and one day receive NO report, this is the backup dog that did not bark. Something is wrong.

In our IT consulting practice, we find a high correlation between backup failure and the very day you most need a backup!

Common events causing backup failure include:

  • Some IT person made a major change to the system
  • The trusted employee responsible for daily backups was out for the day
  • Somebody downloaded and applied updates to your accounting software or other mission-critical software.
  • A power failure or summer heat interrupted normal backup
  • Nobody ever (or recently) tested that a restore would be successful.

Back to the backup dog that did not bark.

If you receive a daily email that says “failure” or “warning”, great. You know there is a problem and can act on this. Beyond warning messages, not receiving your daily email also alerts you that there is a problem to investigate.

Bottom line, business owners and C-Level execs should train themselves as Pavlov dogs to expect a daily email on backup status. Coupled with a solid, multi-layered backup strategy, this simple technique has saved many clients from major disruptions to their business.

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MBSG helps clients design, deploy and manage the systems that run their business. MBSG IT consultants provide IT strategy and IT support. MBSG accounting/ERP software consultants provide evaluation, training, project management and support.www.mbsg.net