Reasons why backups and fire extinguishers are more similar than you think!

With World Backup Day fast approaching (31st March for those of you who aren’t aware); we thought we’d write an article that’s a little different to what we’re used to. After some brainstorming we came up with the idea of writing about ‘Backups and Fire Extinguishers’.

Even though it sounds a bit random; there are a few similarities between the two – with the main point is every business needs a backup and a fire extinguisher – even if they’re never needed to be used.

backups and fire extinguishers have more in common than you think!

1. Both Backups and Fire Extinguishers are great at stopping a bad situation getting worse.

Let’s be honest; if you’re relying on backups or fire extinguishes in any way – something has gone wrong. A fire can start in the kitchen bin; full of paper or a starter in a fluorescent light could burst and start smouldering in your main office. It’s unexpected and may require someone to reach for the nearest fire extinguisher to stop the smoulder turning into a full blown fire.

Backups are just the same; as they’re used to combat all the various issues and cyber threats that might appear without warning. We’ve written about these types of things in the past but just to name a few situations where backups will turn a bad situation around include:

  • A cyber attack such as ransomware encrypting business critical files.
  • Hardware failure where a business critical system is no longer available.
  • A user accidentally deletes files or data that they were working on.

These are just a few things that can make a bad situation better by relying upon a backup!

2. There are many different types of extinguishers; just as there are many different types of backups.

There are many different types of fire extinguisher; all with slightly different purposes. This is because one fire retardant doesn’t cover all fire types.
An example of this is fires that involve more common flammable materials such as wood, fabrics and paper which are easily fought with water; where as flammable liquids like petrol, oil and paint require a foam retardant as water doesn’t help combat these types of fires but instead makes them worse by spreading them.

Just like fire extinguishers; backups come in different types and are best used in specific scenarios.

Just like fire extinguishers; backups come in different types and are best used in specific scenarios.

The same goes for data backups as well; not all backups will be the best to use in certain restore situations. A file backup is great for when a singular (or small set) of files has been deleted, become corrupted or unusable for some reason. However a file backup isn’t the best way to recover from a full system crash – an image backup is the way to go for this.

3. Both backup and fire extinguishers require regular maintenance.

To make sure that there isn’t a critical failure when in a live situation that they’re needed; both fire extinguishers and backups need regular maintenance.
There are a number of things that can go wrong with both as well.

Fire extinguishers have a lot of potential failure points:

– It’s empty as it’s been used previously and just placed back in it’s holder.
– The hose could be blocked; which means it not only won’t be useful but under pressure could burst in the users face.
– The label could be worn which ends up meaning it’s used on the wrong type of fire.
– Slow leaks in the cylinder meaning there isn’t any pressure to force the retardant out when needed most.

The one thing in common with these four failure points are that they can all be detected by performing regular maintenance on the fire extinguisher (which is a requirement by law in most countries around the world now).

Backups are the same. There is a number of potential problems that can occur that will impact how long a business is down for. These include:
– Performing the wrong restore for the situation; which increases the overall recovery time.
– Potential failures that occur during the restoration process.
– Finding that data was ‘being backed up’ but found it actually wasn’t; meaning that it’s unable to be recovered and is gone forever.

Just as the potential failure points with the extinguisher; regular maintenance and testing of backups would discover any potential issues before a critical situation. The only difference is; backup maintenance and testing isn’t against the law.

4. With both backup and fire extinguishers – If you don’t have one; you’ll eventually wish you did!

It’s just like any type of counter measure or insurance; you hope you’ll never need it but you’re glad to have it around. There are many businesses out there that have relied upon both backups and fire extinguishers that were glad they had put the measures in place that they were available if needed.

The worst thing that any business owner can do when it comes to backups is think that ‘it’ll never happen to me.’

Who we are…

Test My Backups is an IT service company that focuses on backup and data protection for small to medium businesses. You wouldn’t expect to fight a fire; but instead outsource this to the local fire department as they have the knowledge and experience. The same goes for backup and disaster recovery; it’s more efficient and safer to outsource this to experts that can get your business up and running after an infrastructure or IT failure. We’re also equipped to perform regular maintenance and adjustments to your backup strategy when needed.

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