Are You Keeping Your Backups Safe?
Backups are critical protection for your business. Are you taking steps to protect your backups?
Risks of Unprotected Backups
If you don’t protect your backups, you can run into these problems:
If the data on your backups is corrupted, you can’t use the data to restore your systems. Corrupted backups can happen through ransomware that encrypts backup files or through backups that were damaged or deliberately tampered with.
As with corrupted backups, lost backups mean you can’t use them to restore systems. Some backups can be lost due to ransomware; some variants of that malware delete shadow files when they find them. Other backups can be lost simply due to poor management of backups.
An inaccessible backup isn’t the same as a lost backup; you know where the file is, but you just can’t get to it. This can happen via a cloud outage or a disaster that shuts down access to your primary data center. Despite having a good backup and knowing where it is, you can’t use it to restore files or bring up a secondary site.
Strategies for Protecting Backups
The best way to keep backups safe is to follow the 3-2-1 backup rule. This means:
- have at least 3 copies of your data, including the original. The odds of all three copies being damaged are much less than the odds of two being damaged.
- use at least 2 different storage media. This means storing backups on multiple devices and different formats. Disks belonging to the same RAID are likely to experience failures close together, so you should keep backups on separate storage systems. Different media have different failure rates and offer additional protection. You can consider cloud as one of your storage media types.
- have at least 1 copy of your data offsite. This protects you if your entire data center becomes inaccessible. Cloud can serve this purpose, but if your data is already stored in the cloud, have one backup on premises or in a different cloud.
In addition to this rule, some other steps you can take to protect backups include:
- keep backups encrypted, and apply appropriate access controls. This will prevent unauthorized access to backup data and protect it from theft or tampering.
- dismount backup devices when not in use. Some types of ransomware attempt to destroy backup files so you can’t use them to recover and need to use the ransom. By keeping the devices offline, they’re made inaccessible to the malware and can’t be damaged by it.
Finally, test your backup scripts periodically to make sure they’re backing up up all necessary data and completing successfully. Also run a recovery test to ensure the backup media is in good condition and you know the process you will use to recover.
Prescient Solutions helps businesses in Chicago and Schaumburg develop procedures to protect their data, their backups, and their business. Contact us to learn more about our disaster recovery services.