Performing a Test Restore

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Are you planning to take the Security+ exam? If so you should know how to select the appropriate control to meet different security goals.  This includes protecting data and performing a test restore.

For example, can you answer this question?

Q. An organization needs to improve fault tolerance to increase data availability. However, the organization has a limited budget. Which of the following is the BEST choice to meet the organization’s needs?

A. RAID

B. Backup system

C. Cluster

D. UPS

More, do you know why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect answers are incorrect? The answer and explanation is available at the end of this post.

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Protecting Data with Backups

Backups are copies of data created to ensure that if the original data is lost or corrupted, it can be restored. Maybe I should restate that. Backups are copies of data created to ensure that when the original data is lost or corrupted, it can be restored. The truth is, if you work with computers long enough, you will lose data. The difference between a major catastrophe and a minor inconvenience is the existence of a backup.

It’s important to realize that redundancy and backups are not the same thing. Protecting data with a RAID-1 or RAID-6 does not negate the need for backups. If a fire destroys a server, it also destroys the data on the RAID. Without a backup, all of the data is gone. Forever.

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Test Restore

I’ve heard many horror stories in which personnel are regularly performing backups thinking all is well. Ultimately, something happens and they need to restore some data. Unfortunately, they discover that none of the backups holds valid data. People have been going through the motions, but something in the process is flawed.

The only way to validate a backup is to perform a test restore. Performing a test restore is nothing more than restoring the data from a backup and verifying its integrity. If you want to verify that you can restore the entire backup, you perform a full restore of the backup. If you want to verify that you can restore individual files, you perform a test restore of individual files. It’s common to restore data to a different location other than the original source location, but in such a way that you can validate the data.

Performing a Test Restore

As a simple example, an administrator can retrieve a random backup and attempt to restore it. There are two possible outcomes of this test, and both are good:

  • The test succeeds. Excellent! You know that the backup process works. You don’t necessarily know that every backup tape is valid, but at least you know that the process is sound and at least some of your backups work.
  • The test fails. Excellent! You know there’s a problem that you can fix before a crisis. If you discovered the problem after you actually lost data, it wouldn’t help you restore the data.

An additional benefit of performing regular test restores is that it allows administrators to become familiar with the process. The first time they do a restore shouldn’t be in the middle of a crisis with several high-level managers peering over their shoulders.

Security+ Practice Test Questions

SY0-501 Practice Test Questions 

Over 300 realistic Security+ practice test questions

All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct,

and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

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 SY0-501 Practice Test Questions


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Protecting Backups

If data is important enough to be backed up, it’s important enough to protect. Backup media should be protected at the same level as the data that it holds. In other words, if proprietary data enjoys the highest level of protection within an organization, then backups of this data should also have the highest level of protection.

Protecting backups includes:

  • Storage. This includes using clear labeling to identify the data and physical security protection to prevent others from easily accessing it while it’s stored.
  • Transfer. Data should be protected any time it is transferred from one location to another. This is especially true when transferring a copy of the backup to a separate geographical location.
  • Destruction. When the backups are no longer needed, they should be destroyed. This can be accomplished by degaussing the media, shredding or burning the media, or scrubbing the media by repeatedly writing varying patterns of 1s and 0s onto the media.

Remember this

Test restores are the best way to test the integrity of a company’s backup data. Backup media should be protected with the same level of protection as the data on the backup.


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Online access includes all of the content from the

CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide

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  • 75 question pre-assessment exam
  • Mastering Security Basics (full content from Chapter 1 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Identity and Access Management (full content from Chapter 2 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Exploring Network Technologies and Tools (full content from Chapter 3 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Securing Your Network (full content from Chapter 4 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Securing Hosts and Data (full content from Chapter 5 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Comparing Threats, Vulnerabilities, and Common Attacks (full content from Chapter 6 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Protecting Against Advanced Attacks (full content from Chapter 7 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Using Risk Management Tools (full content from Chapter 8 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Implementing Controls to Protect Assets (full content from Chapter 9 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Cryptography and PKI (full content from Chapter 10 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 15 practice test questions)
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Q. An organization needs to improve fault tolerance to increase data availability. However, the organization has a limited budget. Which of the following is the BEST choice to meet the organization’s needs?

A. RAID

B. Backup system

C. Cluster

D. UPS

Answer is A. A redundant array of inexpensive disks (RAID) system would provide fault tolerance for disk drives and increase data availability if drives fail.

A backup system improves data availability because you can restore data after data is lost or corrupt. However, a backup system does not provide fault tolerance.

A cluster provides fault tolerance at the server level and ensures a service continues to operate even if a server fails. However, a cluster is more expensive than a RAID.

An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) provides short-term power after a power failure but does not directly increase data availability.

See Chapter 9 of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide for more information protecting data with backups.

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