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Article

When is a backup not a backup?

Posted by GRANT MILLARD, PlanetCPU 02-10-2018 10:47 am

News Millenium Micro - When is a backup not a backup?

Backing up your systems’ contents is an important part of protecting your data.  Everyone hopes never to resort to their backups, assuming that:

  • The building will never burn down.
  • The computers will never crash.
  • The hackers will never find you.
Maintaining these backups is similar to an insurance policy that you would purchase for your property in the event of a disaster.
 
A false sense of security provided by a non-functional backup can be an unpleasant or catastrophic surprise once you discover you cannot restore backups as a result of a system failure.
 
Below are some items that will ensure you are really protected by your systems’ backups.
 

What is backed up?

Users often know that there is a backup running but they don’t know what is actually backed up. A backup can be an image of everything on a specific computer or only selected files and directories. Is the information to be protected backed up?
 

Are the backups running?

Backups are generally configured to run automatically on a schedule. Interruptions to this schedule can cause backups to stop or fail. Often the user is unaware of these failures and can rely on a backup attempting to run but unable to be completed. Do you know that your backups are run each night, week or month?
 

Can you restore the backup?

A backup that is running should be considered an unreliable backup that will not be restored when an emergency arises. Backup issues that are not detected by the software or hardware performing the backup may compromise the data. A backup is not a backup if you can’t restore it.
 

What are you protected from?

Different forms of backups protect your data against different types of threats.
 

Accidental Erasure

A backup can be used to restore information that has been accidentally erased by a user. That memo you now need, the email that was erased last week or anything else you realize should not have been deleted and needs to be restored. Can you get it back in a timely manner?
 

Hardware Failure

If a computer fails due to a motherboard, power supply or other significant hardware failure, this can erase everything on the system hard drive. Will your backup allow you to recover from such a failure?
 

Ransomware/Malware

A ransomware or malware infection on the system or network will attempt to spread throughout your business environment and make data unavailable on all your systems. Your backup must be isolated from the propagation of the ransomware to remain available for recovery. Can a ransomware infection access and encrypt your backup files?
 

Flood/Fire

In the event of a natural disaster, the only way a backup can protect your data is if the backup survives the disaster. This can be possible by:
 
  • Securing the backup media in a secure place such as a safe;
  • Taking copies of your backups off site on a regular schedule;
  • Creating offsite Cloud backups on secure servers outside the company.
 

Conclusion

It is possible to mistakenly believe that a backup protects the data of your business and to realize later that you were not as protected as you would have hoped. Make sure your backups are properly configured, executed, tested regularly and provide the kind of protection you require. Otherwise, it’s not really a backup.
 
If there are problems with your backups, it is best to find out BEFORE you need them.
GRANT MILLARD, PlanetCPU,

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