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Backup risk assessment, what are the options?

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Background

It’s highly likely that your company’s data is subject to the following risks:

  1. Hardware failure
  2. Software fault
  3. User error
  4. Ransomware

If you are affected by any of the above, there’s a high chance that you are going to need to restore your data from backup.  For points 1-3 any backup is fine, whether that is a USB drive directly connected or a tape drive, if it exists, then the backup will be usable.

However, for the ransomware attack the software has the ability to encrypt file based backups, therefore making your backups totally useless.  The purpose of this blog is to identify which backup methods can protect you against all four of these risks.

Review of backup options

Tape

If you are backing up to tape and taking the tapes offsite you are 100% protected against risks 1-4.

Windows Backups To Disk

Backup using Windows Backup to a NAS drive will only protect you against risks 1-3.  With this method there is a high chance that ransomware will infect the disk backup.

Dropbox & Google Drive Backups

Backing up to Dropbox, Google Drive or similar, will only protect you against risks 1-3.  With this method there is a high chance that ransomware will infect Cloud mapped drive.

CloudBerry Backups

Using CloudBerry protects you against all risks because the application runs on a separate Service Account.  What this means is, if your server is hijacked by Cyptolocker or a similar ransomware, it will be unable to access the CloudBerry data, and therefore the software won’t be able to infect the backups.  Additionally, the storage from Amazon is only accessible via a secure key.  CloudBerry encrypts this key so again the ransomware will not be able to access the Amazon store.

The only risk to the Amazon backup strategy would if the Amazon S3 storage went offline or was deleted, but I see both of these risks as extremely low.

Conclusion

Either a tested, encrypted, offsite tape or a robust Cloud based backup, are the two best options for a bullet proof backup solution.

The downside to tape is they deteriorate with age and restores can take a long time if you need to retrieve the tape and catalogue it.  To help against the deterioration issue you should test the tapes once a year.   This route is going to be extremely expensive.

A true Cloud backup solution such as CloudBerry is a very secure backup method and having a local disk backup first ensures that the restore will be extremely fast.  The only possible risk is for the Cloud provider to go offline, you can easily mitigate against this by backing up to two different Cloud providers.

Therefore if you have the bandwidth I would recommend a Cloud backup solution with encryption enabled which also backs up to a local disk first.

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Jon Abbott

With more than 15 years experience researching, testing and evaluating the latest technologies, Jon is able to advise clients and readers on how to improve system efficiency and keep up with the latest technology.

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