Data Backup – A Security Assurance
Data backup is important for securing your business’s continuity. Backup goes beyond making copies to a single desktop/laptop computer or mobile device because when it is compromised, lost or stolen, your business data is gone. Even maintaining hardcopies on paper is not adequate data protection; because of natural disasters and human errors or sabotage.
A backup is a representative copy of data at a specified time. The phrase “backup and recovery” usually refers to the transfer of copied files from one location to another, along with the various operations performed on those files. Thus, a good backup strategy is essential for data security. Businesses of all sizes have backup as the last defense against data loss, by providing a way to restore original data. It has the following advantages:
- Protecting you in the event of hardware failure, accidental deletions or disaster.
- Protecting you against unauthorized changes made by an intruder.
- Providing you with a history of an intruder’s activities by looking through archived, older backups.
Data loss can occur in many ways. For instance, stolen computers or mobile devices from break-ins; desktop/laptop hard drive crash or damage to mobile phones may also lead to irrecoverable data; deliberate or otherwise deletion of data; hijacking of computer systems by malware; and ransomware attacks.
Backup business data regularly
Create backups on reliable media or in the cloud. When using media for backups, the devices should be kept in a secure, off-site location. The basic rule businesses must follow for data protection is that if losing the data will interfere with doing business, back it up. Most desktop software programs can be reinstalled if required but recovering the details of transactions or business correspondence is impossible if those files are lost or damaged beyond repair.
Data Archive vs Data Backup
Backups are normally periodic, short term images of data for disaster recovery purposes. Archiving, meanwhile, generally refers to long-term storage of data that is no longer in regular use but can be restored if need be (for example, a finished project or data from a former client).
Backup Critical Business Data
The following are ways to successful data backup –
It is essential to implement backups of the data on a regular schedule and the first step is by identifying what needs to be backed up. All files that were created and/or modified should be regularly backed up. For many businesses, this includes everything from accounting files through email.
More and more business applications are available through the cloud. However, if you are using desktop (non-browser) applications, these can be reinstalled from media or downloaded, so don’t need to be backed up. Either way, for ease, businesses can use CyberPal, the world’s first Cyber Security Marketplace that enables end-users to compare, review, ask peers, buy research reports for all your Cyber Security requirements.
The use of online backup services makes backing up your data easy – which is just one of the reasons cloud computing is ideal for small businesses. However, cloud services are also vulnerable to data loss via hacking or employee sabotage (consider the recent case of the Indianapolis-based American College of Education who, after firing an information technology employee discovered that before leaving he had changed the administrative passwords to the online accounts, preventing the college from accessing their data). It is not a bad idea to take occasional local backups of cloud data (Ryckaert, 2017).
Local Data Backups
Businesses can simplify their backups by keeping all the files that will need to be archived on a single drive on a computer. Examples of such files for back up include accounting files, word-processing documents, spreadsheets, photos, and email. Naming the folders in a simple format like Accounting, Microsoft Office (including Outlook) etc. all on a separate drive or under a separate folder makes it easier to archive all the created files or modified using those programs. What is required next is to back up the drive or folder. Next is to select the critical data to be archived, it’s a simple matter to install and use a backup software program to archive your business data on a regular schedule.
Nightly back up is recommended. There are many backup software programs and vendors available on cyberpal.io that can allow you to set a schedule that will automatically backup your data. Backup software that also zips and encrypts files saves disk space and increases data security are also available.
It is recommended to only keep business data backups on-site if they are stored in a fire-proof, indestructible safe. Investing in a tape drive or external hard drive and meticulously adhering to a regular data backup schedule would be futile if all your data backup copies are in one place and that place is struck by disaster. For true security, business backups must be stored off-site. Another trend is for businesses to keep their data backups in security boxes at banks. Other small business owners keep multiple data backup copies of their records at the homes of different friends or family members. Wherever you choose to keep the backup copies of your data does not really matter, as long as the site you choose for off-site data backup is secure and you have regular access to it.
Online Backup Services
When a business opts for an online backup service, the best security is assured with the use of strong passwords which should be regularly changed. Furthermore, the backup files should be encrypted. Normal practice in shared services is for client data to be encrypted.
USB (Thumb) Drives
USB sticks are constantly increasing in capacity and are ideal for quick data backups. While not having the capacity of external hard drives they have fast data transfer rates and are highly portable. You can easily backup data to a USB drive and take it offsite. USB drives have no moving parts making them quite reliable.
External Hard Drives
For small and medium businesses, buying and using an external hard drive for data backups is the recommended method. External hard drives are inexpensive compared to tape drive systems. External HDs are also easy to use; simply plug the hard drive into your computer’s USB port. Most external hard drives come with a software for backup.
Local Area Network (LAN) Storage
Where there is a local area network (LAN) files can be also be backed up to another computer or server. However, if the backup machine resides in the same location it may be vulnerable to theft or damaged by fire or flood. To prevent theft a server can be installed in a locked cage, cabinet, or closet.
If you have large amounts of data to backup (or wish to make and retain regular complete data archives for long-term storage) tape backups are the best option. They are highly reliable and can store massive amounts of data.
Back It Up or Risk Losing It
Don’t run the risk of losing your business data. The best defense against such a disaster is proper data protection. By creating a backup system that includes archiving and backing up your business data regularly and properly, you’ll ensure that your business will be able to weather whatever storm it faces and carry on. Remember – you can never have too many data backups! Backup and DR Vendors can now be sourced from cyberpal.io. CyberPal is the world’s first Cyber Security Marketplace that enables end-users to compare, review, ask peers, buy research reports for all your Cyber Security requirements. Locate and connect with nearest Resellers for all Vendor solutions. End-users can post a project and Independent cyber experts can send proposals to these end-users and buyers can simply purchase it via the cyberpal platform and award the vendors / contractors the contract. It’s a secure payment platform and endusers benefit from private communication as well. This can help you to drive your cyber security strategy for your business rather than it being a non-starter.
Ryckaert, V. (2017). Retrieved 11 March 2020, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/nation-now/2017/01/17/password-lawsuit/96667974/