Importance of back-up plans

As another country sends an emergency message for assistance restoring their data I'm reflecting on the importance of ensuring sustainable back-up plans are in place. Not only must we assist local system administrators with devising an affordable solution we must also automate if possible and check back for status as often as possible. Too often we see back-up plans which are insufficient or exist only on paper, not actually in practice. We have also seen back-up plans which are followed for a period of time and then abandoned due to busy staff or a false sense of security due to a period of time with no system catastrophes. Borrowing from the words of a colleague, back-ups are only useful if they can be used to obtain the required data. And so as we perform regular check-ups to ensure back-ups are conducted in a timely manner we should also inquire as to how often they test the back-up data to ensure it will be useful if needed.