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21 Mar 2007

Measure twice, cut once

A computer technician reformatting a disk drive at the Alaska Department of Revenue accidentally deleted applicant information for a $38bn oil-funded account by reformatting the backup drive as well. Only then did the department discover its backup tapes were also unreadable ...

This kind of backup failure incident happens so often, and the impacts are so serious, that the risk must surely be assessed as high. The obvious controls (professionally designed data backup schemes, change controlled and regularly tested) are not unduly expensive. Is it really that hard to join the dots?

Carpenters have the saying "Measure twice, cut once". Designing and testing your backup regime beats finding out, when you really need it, that it doesn't work.

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