So, you’ve taken the advice of an IT employee or consultant and invested in a strong technology backup and disaster recovery plan that protects your business against all kinds of unfortunate potential accidents, both major and minor. With that out of the way, you can rest easy in the knowledge that your files, sensitive data, and even applications are safely tucked away if there is every a fire, break-in, or other incident… right?

You certainly can, but don’t think that you’ll never have to think about backups and disaster recovery again.

You see, just like insurance policies and other protective tools, backup and disaster recovery plans become outdated over time, and need to be revisited on a regular basis. That’s partly because technology is always changing, but also because your company is, as well.

In fact, here are just a few of the items that will have to be updated on your backup and disaster recovery plan from time to time:

Any new technology components your company relies on. If you are like most businesses, you aren’t using the same computers you were just a few years ago, much less the same smart phones, tablets, software applications, and so on. Considering how quickly technology changes, it’s only natural that you’ll need to add new parts to your plan. The same goes for new pieces to integrate into your company, new pieces of software that departments come to rely on, and so on.

Analysis for compatibility issues between hardware, software, and communications tools. As you add all of these new pieces, it’s important to ensure that they will still function correctly with the other backup tools and systems you already have in place.

Regular test to ensure the validity of your backups. Although most organizations regularly back up files in one form or another, it’s unfortunate that most never test the validity of their backups, or practice restoring them in the ways that they would following an accident or emergency. Making sure these files will be there when you need them is an important part of the process.

Updates for personnel and details. Just as your business and your technology are always changing, so too might be IT personnel you count on. If you aren’t positively sure you would know who to call following the loss of important data or hardware, then it’s time to update your records and written backup and disaster recovery plan.

The good news is that, once you have a strong backup and disaster recovery plan in place, dealing with these issues and making the necessary updates should be fairly quick, easy, and inexpensive. The bad news is that, if you brush off these tasks for long enough, the plan you have in place will stop being an effective safety net and start lulling you into a false sense of security.

Do yourself and your company a favor, and consider backup and disaster recovery planning as something that takes a big effort once, and an occasional small effort every six months or so. Treating it that way will stop your plan from getting out of date, and ensure that you always have what you need from your technology.