Your backups are only good if you can restore your data from them, but all too often we don't test our backups to make sure they actually work. One way to remember: Set aside dates during the year to do the verification. Let's say Friday the 13th.
It's a memorable date tinged with superstition, so it's perfect for making sure you won't be unlucky if you ever need to use your backups. Adam Engst, who came up with this fun holiday, says:
If you're reading this article on some other day, I'd encourage you to verify your backups right away and then continue with the Friday the 13th schedule. Take a few minutes to identify some critical files and see if you can restore them successfully from your backups. If a bootable backup is part of your backup strategy, make sure you can actually boot from it. (If you don't have a good backup from which you can restore right now, allow me to recommend the latest edition of one of our most popular ebooks, Joe Kissell's "Take Control of Backing Up Your Mac.") That's it. No costumes are necessary, there's no obligatory greeting, and you aren't expected to make a special meal. If you feel the need to honour your successful verification, well, a little celebratory imbibing of your favourite beverage is never inappropriate.
In 2016, the next Friday the 13th happens in May, and then in 2017 in January and October. You could set a more frequent verification schedule, such as each change of season or when we have to set the clocks for Daylight Savings. Either way, don't forget that verifying your backup is the most important part of backing up your computer.