Every business thinks they have a backup of their data, but what happens during an emergency? Understanding where backups are stored and how they are accessed is just the tip of the iceberg. Discover the basics of backup security and how they play a vital role in protecting your business from a data breach.
The Importance of Backups
Businesses face numerous data threats that can range from hardware failures to natural disasters. However, one of the most devastating data threats comes from hackers who locate your backup’s vulnerability and exploit it for ransom. For the success and operation of your business, ensure that your backup is readily accessible, secure, and out of hackers’ hands.
When Backups Fail
Every business will witness a cyber security event at some point during their operations.When this inevitably happens, most businesses believe that they have a backup only to find that their data is either not accessible or simply not there. Here are a few instances of what can go wrong during a backup and how you can avoid a data crisis:
When retrieving the backup, a business may find that their data is nowhere to be found. In the event of a cyberattack, hackers first target the backup locations to wipe the data. However, lost data can also occur with an incomplete backup performed by a managed service provider (MSP) where the wrong data sets are grabbed during the backup.
It is a necessity that you know who is backing up your data, who has access to your data, and where that data is stored. It’s far too common for businesses to think that someone either internally or externally is performing regular backups when in fact, no backup had been performed. For this reason, high visibility on the backup protocol should be in effect at all times.
There are also instances where a backup may be in the Cloud and encrypted but no one knows how to access it. For this reason, it is crucial to always know where your data is and to designate a staff member who can access it.
Encrypt Your Backup Devices
If your backup is stored on a device, always ensure that it is encrypted. In the event that a non-encrypted device is stolen, dropped, or lost, there are major ramifications for the safety and security of your business if an unauthorized or malicious entity gains access to it. Personal, patient, and financial information must always be encrypted on any backup to avoid a data catastrophe.
How often are you backing up your data? If backups are made on a monthly basis, you may not have all the data you need in the case of a cyber event. Most businesses find that if the last 30 days of data is lost, the effort that goes into recreating that data costs time and money, along with a damaged reputation
Data sets are larger today than they used to be. Retrieving data from a backup can take weeks to download from Cloud solutions. Most businesses don’t consider the timeline of a backup recovery – in certain cases a recovery can take over a week. Depending on your backup size, create a strategy in the event that a recovery is required.
It’s also important to swap out backup devices that are connected to a network. Devices should be rotated on a daily basis to mitigate the risk of hackers locating and destroying external device data. We recommend at least 3 or 4 external devices rotated on a regular basis and taking these external devices off site. While the approach might be old school, it is an excellent strategy to boost your security.
Network Area Storage Device (NAS)
Backups that store large data sets are easy to locate by hackers, especially on a network area storage device (NAS), and so they must be properly set up to protect you from a data breach. Businesses often forget that if they are running a system that uses a database like Oracle, SQL, Sybase, the service must be stopped to perform a successful backup. Always consult with your software vendor and/or MSP about performing backups when utilizing these services.
How to Successfully Backup Your Data
The key to performing successful backups depends on two primary factors: successfully backing up your data and being able to retrieve your data. Here are some insights for performing successful backups:
The 3-2-1 Rule
Keep 3 copies of your data where 2 are media sets (Cloud, NAS, or USB drive) and 1 copy is stored off-site. The off-site backup should be kept somewhere secure, such as a fireproof safe when not in use.
Regularly validate your backup. Try to restore your data onto your network to ensure that you are able to successfully retrieve the data. Make sure you are able to open restored files. Also conduct audits on client and patient data to identify any missing data sets.
The frequency that data validation and audits should occur depends on your industry and resources. Begin with a couple of small files before moving on to terabytes of data to make sure you are able to retrieve and open the files. Once you test a few files, make a plan to audit your entire database. We suggest checking your data on a quarterly basis to determine the quality of your backups. Once you determine your risk, put a plan in place for a full backup retrieval and audit.
A lot of businesses receive backup alerts from their IT or MSP. Don’t forget to review any alerts so that you can ensure that your backups are executing properly.
Many businesses rely on their MSP for backups. Make sure that you know who can access your data, what security measures your data has to prevent unauthorized access, and where your data is at all times. Don’t be afraid to speak transparently with your provider and bring up any questions or concerns you may have. Your data is like your house – control who has access.
Keep Your Business Secure With Black Talon
Implementing effective risk management strategies and combining these with cyber coverage is the best approach to mitigating the impact of an attack against a business. Most attacks can be prevented when your business works in tandem with an IT and cybersecurity company to build a resilient security system tailored for your business.
If you don't have a full cybersecurity plan that includes vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, training and a security assessment, we should talk.
Schedule a free consultation to discuss your current and future security needs.