What is the Best Way to Backup?
“That will never happen to me.” We get through our lives telling ourselves the worst won’t happen to us. It’s the same with business: “We won’t need this data backup.” Yet, whatever your industry, secure, reliable backup ensures business as usual. So, what’s the best way to backup? Here’s help.
Why You Need to Backup
Plan B: Approaches to Backup
There are several off-the-shelf backup options your business can use. Let’s consider the pros and cons of the most popular ones.
USB Thumb Drives — Also known as “flash drives,” “pen drives,” or “memory sticks,” these thumb-sized devices are compact and portable. But, they have size limitations compared to hard drives. Also, the mobility makes them easy to lose (which can actually set the disaster scenario in motion).
Additionally, a USB thumb drive is robust when not plugged in, but more vulnerable when attached. If someone inadvertently snaps the drive or employs too much force, they can put the data on that backup at risk.
The cheap ones also tend to be slow, which can make backing up sluggish.
USB Hard Drives — Portable hard drives increase the data storage available, often at a decent price. They are designed to be compact and mobile. You can prioritize durability, processing speed, storage volumes and more.
Hard drives are less likely to get damaged than a thumb drive. If knocked or jostled, the cables are flexible. Still, a hard drive can be prone to physical failure. Selecting an external solid state drive (SSD) can help since it has no moving parts. Information is stored instead in microchips.
Cloud Storage — Backing up to the cloud stores data on an external, secure server. If thieves take your computers and USB backup, you can still access your data on the cloud. Cloud storage providers build in redundancy to ensure your backup remains safe.
Most cloud storage services back up to secure centers with thousands of servers storing data. Oh, and they’ll have their own server backups too, just in case they’re the ones hit by a disaster. The providers also encrypt data during transit to further ensure compliance and security.
Migrating to a third-party cloud storage service also cuts the clutter at your premises. You can count on expert help to ensure security and compliance. Plus, you can cut operational costs by offloading in-house storage or external hard drive expenses.
OK, What’s the Best Answer?
Don’t think disaster won’t strike your business. Research has found data loss and downtime are most often caused by:
Want to secure your data for the worst? Let's chat!
You’ll know if you’re a victim of ransomware. Often you’re met with a red screen telling you your business files are encrypted. You won’t be able to do anything on the computer, although the cybercriminals will provide helpful instructions for how to pay up. How nice. Here’s what to do instead if you’re the victim of a ransomware attack.
Cybersecurity Ventures predicts ransomware will impact businesses every 11 seconds in 2021. Yes, you read that right. That’s up from every 14 seconds in 2019. Another research company reported ransomware increasing 485% year-over-year in 2020.
Know that it’s widely considered a bad idea to pay the ransom, because you’re rewarding the cybercriminal. Plus, you can’t even be sure that they will provide the encryption key needed to regain the use of your files. What! You were going to trust the bad guys?
The Important First Step
The first thing you’ll want to do is make it all go away. Yet wishful thinking is not going to get the job done. Instead, you’re going to have to turn immediately to your disaster response plan, because, of course, you have one of those already. Really, don't underestimate the value of planning in advance for IT infrastructure compromise. Doing it proactively means calm, considered decisions rather than reacting in a crisis.
Step one is going to be identifying the systems involved and isolating them. Once you detect a compromise, limit the spread of infection by disconnecting the devices affected. Ideally, you take only a few computers offline or disconnect an individual network. Even in a large-scale compromise, remove all affected devices from the network to contain the malware.
As part of the isolation, don’t forget to disconnect any connected devices such as storage drives. The ransomware infection will even seek out USB thumb drives.
Power down only the affected devices if you are unable to disconnect them from the network. Why? Because turning them off means you might lose potential evidence.
Malicious actors may be monitoring your business communications. So, move offline to coordinate your response. Phone calls or text messaging will work, or personal email accounts.
Don’t attempt to restore critical systems until you have identified and isolated. After that, your business can move into triage mode. Prioritize what to restore, and recover using your data backup (again, of course, you have one of those, too). Consider how critical each system is for health and safety and revenue generation. Then, get to work restoring systems in an efficient, organized fashion.
Minimizing Ransomware Risk
Ransomware is a major threat to every business sector, and you don’t want to become the next victim. Common best practices include:
Businesses that partner with a managed services provider have someone supporting their efforts to cut ransomware risk. Plus, if the worst happens, the MSP’s IT experts are at the ready to identify and isolate. They can find the samples needed, determine the malware strain you are dealing with, and report the attack.
Your data backup should have recent copies of all information up to (or close to) the time of infection. So, once the MSP has removed all ransomware, they will wipe your systems and storage devices. They can swiftly reformat the hard disks and reinstall everything from scratch.
An MSP can help you plan ahead to contain the damage from a cyberattack. Let our IT experts install best practices, set up safe backups, and track activity on your network. Sign up for Pro+Tech today!
There are many moments in life when we would like to travel through time. One common instance is when an important document disappears from our computer screen. Making things worse, we forgot to save it! That’s hours of work lost. Fortunately, Apple users have Time Machine’s built-in backup feature for added protection.
This software automatically backs up apps, music, photos, email, documents, and system files. You can backup to
It’s simple. Connect your Mac to an external drive, then Open Time Machine to select your backup destination. You can select when backups happen and what gets backed up, and you’ll also have the option of encrypting your backup, which is a good idea.
Time Machine keeps hourly backups for 24 hours, daily backups for a month, and weekly backups for previous months until full. The oldest backups get deleted when space is needed.
All you need to do to restore your original files is turn on and connect the Time Machine backup disk. Then, you can use the timeline on the Time Machine screen to find the items to restore.
We recommend all Mac users set up Time Machine to backup to at least an external drive, and Apple makes it easy to setup this minimum level of backup. With the local device, you’ll have a first line of defense close at hand if you need to recover or restore your computer.
However, this basic backup does limit your options. To amplify your protection, consider these alternatives.
Gaining More Control of Your Backup
Third-party software offers additional layers of protection. You gain detailed control of what is backed up and when, and what happens afterwards (perhaps you’ll want the software to eject the external device or shut down). You can also find software that backups operating systems and settings too. This could prove useful if your Mac gets stolen or damaged.
You’ll be able to move to another device and quickly get all your data and applications configured as they were.
Another alternative for enhanced backup is the cloud. Time Machine and third-party software solutions require a local device to hold the backup. But if your computer is stolen, the thief is likely to have taken your backup too. Or, if your laptop is damaged in a flood or fire, the backup is probably also destroyed.
You’re also at risk of ransomware with Time Machine and third-party software. If malicious software compromises a device (yes, Macs are vulnerable too), it’s going to spread to connected or networked devices. So, the USB backup drive or NAS is as susceptible to encryption as the main Mac device.
Cloud backup provides a solution that helps avoid all these issues. Your backup data is stored in a datacenter that the thief, fire, flood, or ransomware can’t touch. Most cloud backup providers boast rigorous security protocols.
Eventually, all hard drives will fail. Backing up important data to one device leaves you at risk of a single point of failure. Cloud backup removes the fear that the one backup drive isn’t going to be working when you need it.
Need help setting up Time Machine, a third-party backup, or configuring your cloud backup? Let our computer experts help! We don’t want anyone to go without the safety and security of a reliable backup.
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