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One is None, and Two is One

Backup planning is important, One is None, Two is One.

Do any research on backup, and you will be told ‘one is none and two is one’. It is good advice. Murphy predicts that when a backup is needed, it will not be usable. If you rely on your data for your living, you must rely on backups to restore your operations.

Every device that creates or updates the information you will need in the future needs a backup plan. Yes, every device. ‘Backup plan’ may be the wrong term to describe what I mean, but it is what most people call it. The plan should include:

  1. what things rely on the data on this device
  2. how will I be impacted when this device is not working
  3. how long can I tolerate this device being less capable than normal
  4. what is my ‘workaround’ to deal with missing information
  5. how will get back to where I was

What you are restoring should determine what methods you use to backup and restore function to your device. It is futile to spend time backing up important information if you can not get the data back onto the critical equipment quickly enough to be useful.

There is only one way to be sure that your ‘backup plan’ is adequate. You need to test the plan. Testing consists of simulating the failure of an item, assessing the impact, restoring them, and assessing the item’s functionality post-restore.

“One is none, and Two is One.” If you did your infrastructure assessment, and you have assessed how each item will impact your operations, formulated the steps needed for operations, tested your backups and tested your restores – you are still vulnerable to the failure of your backup’s destination. Backups are rarely restored, and the hardware and methods often fail without notice. Less commonly the backup will be unavailable because you are recovering from a fire or theft. The old “IT” guy’s mantra of “One is none, and Two is One” happens more often than anyone admits.

Start thinking about your backup needs for your operation. You will need to restore a backup someday. If you have a tested plan, the impact of equipment failure or disaster need not cripple your business.


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