About 25 years or so ago, I had an interview for a WAN Administrator role; somehow, back then, this was different from a LAN Administrator role.

As it turns out, a WAN Administrator was early 1990s speak for “Network Engineer.” During that interview, I was asked a question and told that there was a singular, non-subjective answer: 

Interviewer: “What is the first rule of data processing?” 

Me: “Uuuhhhmmm, I don’t really know how to answer that?” 

Interviewer (half out of his chair and leaning over his desk at me):Backup, backup, backup!! 

Backup, backup, backup indeed. As IT professionals we learn, hopefully via someone else’s horror story, that explaining data has been permanently deleted makes for a bad day. Sometimes, losing just one file can be detrimental to an organization, so imagine when it’s whole folders, or entire sites. An after-action root cause analysis report usually lays bare the truth: backups were configured, but not tested.  

It’s a truth that many organizations today find themselves with.  

“Sure,” the IT Manager tells the IT Director, “Backups have been configured so that if a virus hits or ransomware strikes, recovery will be quick and easy.”  

But will it, really? To what level has the backup routine been tested? What backup strategy makes sense, based on what the business needs or what compliance requires? How does the business know for sure that these work, short of a full business continuity test? 


Many organizations buy the right tools. Some organizations even deploy them properly, but few know for sure if all the carefully laid plans to alleviate outages and mitigate failures work properly. Fewer know if the backups that hold the data and systems required to run the business are usable and restorable. If there is a second rule to data processing, it is “test, test, test” which takes time and requires human effort. With busy schedules of projects and other, more tactical tasks, most organizations rely on their backup system to tell them if it did its job properly and backed up everything reliably. 

Of course, relying exclusively on your backup system to self-report can be dangerous. For example, if the backup system fails, it may not be able to send any email notifications alerting of the issue. Would someone on your team notice if they didn’t get a status email from your backup system? In most cases, probably not. For many businesses, this lack of specific focus on testing working backups puts them in an awkward spot, whether or not they’re aware of it. It’s like the uncomfortable position of repeatedly having to cross a rope bridge over a large chasm at night with no light. Sure, you may make it; however, one missed step is all it takes for your world to fall out from under you. Unlike the proverbial falling tree in the forest, when a backup solution falls over, someone will most definitely hear a sound. Usually from a rather angry business leader. 


GMI understands that your data is the lifeblood of your business. Employees expect access to it when they walk through the door. Failures to access this data are expected to be resolved quickly. There is painfully little patience when they aren’t. As such, GMI manages backups as part of our Secure Managed Services solution, we work with our clients to determine what data needs to be backed up and then extensively test those backups to ensure they work. This gives clients the ability to rest easy, knowing that not only are the data and systems backed up, but they are going to work when called upon. And if there’s an issue with the backups themselves, GMI’s technicians work to resolve the issue and re-test, ensuring they are always in working order. Feel that weight off your chest? With GMI, you can breathe a sigh of relief because we ensure your backups will actually have you back up.

Contact us, for more information on how we can help.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, I did end up getting that job.  

Bret Filipek

Bret Filipek

With more than 25 years in IT, Bret Filipek is a seasoned pro. He's worn such titles as Systems Engineer, Network Engineer, Security Engineer, Network Operations and Engineer Manager, and IT Director. His experience includes working with the largest hosting provider, the largest financial transaction processor, and small non-profits as well. When he isn't helping organizations solve IT challenges, he can be found hiking and making the most of the scenic Arizona outdoors.