A few years ago, we provided a backup solution to an Electrical contractor company who handled their IT needs in house. Within just three days of implementing the solution and completing a full backup, they were hit with ransomware. Despite the attack, our robust backup system saved all their critical data, with a quick recovery over the weekend before employees returned to the office. You might assume that such a close call would shape their commitment to data protection, to ensure it stays as robust as it needed to. However, when the company was looking to cut costs, they chose not to renew the backup solution. Since they didn’t experience the pain of the ransomware attack, they forgot the risk and potential damages they narrowly avoided and were ready to take the same risks again.

It seems to go without question now that a backup of your data is necessary. Most of us are aware of someone who didn’t have a backup and they had to weigh the impact of never recovering the data again or paying the cost of getting it back. Whether the threat is ransomware or hardware failure, the same decision is presented.

What many don’t know are the risks of lost data even with a backup. Here are some factors to consider as you evaluate the effectiveness of your current data backup solution:

Human behavior: Do your employees store data on servers for backup? Does your IT service provider or IT employee know about your accounting files on a desktop separate from your servers when putting your backup plan in place?

Isolation of backup: If your backup is accessible via VPN, it is vulnerable to the same cyber-attacks or other threats as your local data. Syncing solutions like drop-box or Microsoft OneDrive can copy the infected files across.

Time to Restore: What impact would your business face if it takes a week or more to restore your data?  A one week or longer timeframe to restore your systems is possible if you have to wait for data to download or new hardware to arrive.

Verification of successful backups: If you have not verified the integrity of the backup or contents of the backup, you may find it ran out of space and stopped months ago. A great backup solution is verified automatically so you know immediately if there is a failure.

Here are three simple improvements you should make:

  • Create a Data Map – Plan out your data protection and verify both your team and your IT provider know where data is stored, verify it is backed up properly. Assess hardware age and lifespan.
  • Virtualize Server backups  - Virtualization means that your data is stored in another location that has the components to allow you to use it as your server in an emergency. Leading backup solutions facilitate quick virtualization, minimizing downtime to minutes instead of hours, days, or weeks!
  • Image and file level backups - Backing up your data can be done as a copy of your entire server or computer.  This is great for full system restores, a file level backup can save you hours of work if a file you worked on was lost.

By incorporating these improvements, you strengthen your data protection strategy. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.