6 Tools to protect your backups

A photograph of a laptop and houseplant on a coffee table. Someone wearing converse sneakers rests their feet on the table.

There are about 140,000 hard drive crashes in the US weekly. Every five years, 20% of SMBs suffer data loss due to a significant disaster.

Simply backing up data isn't enough anymore. Instead, backing up has morphed into data protection. So what can companies do now to protect their valuable data?

WEBIT Services has helped hundreds of clients develop and execute effective IT strategies for over 25 years. It is passionate about education and assisting companies to make informed IT-related decisions and investments.

By reading this article, you will learn how backups have changed, threats to your backups, and six tools and practices to help you protect your backups.


How have backups changed?

The need to back up data has been around since floppy disks. Data loss happens due to viruses, hard drive crashes, and other mishaps. Most people using any technology have experienced data loss at least once.

Now, however, backups need more cybersecurity protection. They face threats such as sleeper ransomware and supply chain attacks.

Some of the modern threats to data backups include:

  • Data Center Outage:The "cloud" basically means data on a server. That server is internet accessible. Those servers can crash. Data centers holding the servers can also have outages.
  • Sleeper Ransomware:This type of ransomware stays silent after infecting a device. The goal is to have it infect all backups. Then, when it's activated, the victim doesn't have a clean backup to restore.
  • Supply Chain Attacks:Supply chain attacks have been growing. They include attacks on cloud vendors that companies use. If vendors suffer a cyberattack, it then spreads throughout their clients.
  • Misconfiguration:Misconfiguration of security settings can allow attackers to gain access to cloud storage. Those attackers can then download and delete files as they like.

6 tools or practices you may want in a data protection backup system

Just backing up data isn't enough. You need to ensure the application you use provides adequate data protection. Here are some things to look for when reviewing a backup solution.

1. Ransomware prevention

Ransomware can spread throughout a network to infect any data that exists. This includes data on computers, servers, and mobile devices. It also includes data in cloud platforms syncing with those devices.

95% of ransomware attacks also try to infect data backup systems.

Any data backup solution you use must have protection from ransomware. This type of feature restricts automated file changes that can happen to documents.

2. Continuous data protection

Continuous data protection is a feature that will back up files as users make changes. This falls into the realm of IT continuity and differs from systems that back up on a schedule.

Continuous data protection ensures that the system captures the latest file changes. This mitigates data loss if a system crashes before the next backup.

However, some businesses may be comfortable with data backups instead of IT continuity, as the former is less expensive to maintain. Your data's value and IT compliance policies will help determine whether you invest in backups, IT continuity, or both.

3. Threat identification

Threat identification is a type of malware and virus prevention tool. It looks for malware in new and existing backups.

Look for threat identification functions in a backup service. This helps stop sleeper ransomware and similar malware from infecting all backups.

4. Zero-trust tactics

A zero-trust approach holds that all users and applications need ongoing authentication.

Cybersecurity professionals around the world promote zero-trust security measures. This includes measures such as multi-factor authentication and application safelisting.

Some of the zero-trust features to look for include:

  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Distinct file and folder permissions
  • Contextual authentication
  • Verification of permissions for file changes

5. Backup redundancy

If you back up to a USB drive or CD, you have one copy of those files. If something happens to that copy, you could experience data loss.

However, having multiple copies of your backups creates redundancy. If one copy is damaged or compromised, you have additional copies safe and ready.

Cloud backup providers should have backup redundancy in place. The server holding your data mirrors that data to another server. This prevents data loss in the case of a server crash, natural disaster, or cyberattack.

6. Utilize air gapping for more sensitive data

Air gapping is a system that keeps a copy of your data offline or separated in another way. In air gapping, you create a second backup copy of your data and then put it on another server disconnected from external sources.

You may want to seek out this feature if you deal with highly sensitive data. It helps to ensure that you have at least one other copy of your backup walled off from common internet-based attacks.

Next steps for improving your data backup security

In an IT disaster, quality backups can help save your business. Because of their value, backups must be well-protected.

Tools that can help protect your backups include:

  1. Ransomware prevention
  2. Continuous data protection (or IT continuity)
  3. Threat identification
  4. Zero-trust tactics
  5. Backup redundancy
  6. Air gapping

Consult your IT provider or internal IT team to review your backup system and IT disaster recovery plans. They can help provide guidance and develop this system to help protect your data and prevent lost data and profits.

It is a red flag if your IT provider or team is unwilling to discuss backups, IT disasters, or recovery plans. These topics are crucial in today's technological landscape and must be addressed before disaster strikes.

WEBIT Services has served hundreds of satisfied clients in the Chicago area for over 25 years.

If you are looking for a new IT provider or want to develop a backup and recovery system, schedule a free 30-minute consultation to see how WEBIT Services can help.

If you're not ready to make a commitment but would like to learn more about IT strategies and IT backups, we recommend the following articles: