Risks to Business Data Are Everywhere

loughtecBlog: IT support | Virtual Desktop | Cyber Security- Loughtec: NI / ROI / UK

Reports of malicious software and hackers are everywhere these days. And, while these types of threats do pose significant risks for businesses, they are also certainly not the only ones out there. So, with that in mind, we will cover some of the things that threaten your business data and put it at risk on a daily basis.

Hackers, Viruses, and Ransomware

As noted above, cyber-attacks are wreaking havoc for businesses everywhere. And, while hackers and ransomware outbreaks are certainly causing damage and making headlines, old-school malware, spyware, and old-fashioned viruses continue to be among the leading reasons for system breaches and data loss. With these types of threats, it is not a matter of when your business will become a victim; it’s just a question of when. Anti-malware and anti-virus software can help. Still, even with updated security software, most businesses remain exposed to the threat of data loss due to hackers, malware, and ransomware.

Physical Disasters

With all the reports of cyber-attacks, hackers, and malware in the news these days, it is easy to overlook some of the more conventional physical threats your data faces every day. A fire, flood, or another type of natural disaster can wipe out all the data in your location and make recovery virtually impossible. And, if you don’t have multiple backups available, the simple theft of a hard drive or storage device could easily result in significant data loss. If that’s not enough, you should never take for granted the very real possibility of hard drive failures and other another types of hardware mishaps.

Protecting Business Data: Backup Basics

Simply put, a data backup is just a copy of files from your computer or device. And, as illustrated with the numerous threats described above, keeping a backup of your important business files and data is essential for several important reasons.
Virtually all computer and technology experts will tell you that any backup is better than none at all. Nevertheless, not all backup devices and technologies are the same; nor do they all offer the same levels of protection. Consequently, for optimal protection, it is best to safeguard your data using what we call the 3-2-1 rule. Put simply, the 3-2-1 rule states that you should:

  • Keep at least three (3) copies of your data (so no single event will destroy all copies);
  • Store the data in at least two (2) different formats (i.e. disk, tape, cloud, etc.);
  • Keep one (1) copy offsite to protect against fire, flood, theft, and other physical disasters.

To give you an idea of available options that can help you implement the 3-2-1 rule, let’s take a look at some of the most common methods businesses use to back up data.

Local and Network Backups

One of the easiest ways to create backups of business data is to simply store copies of important files on hard drives, tape drives or other storage devices connected to your systems or network. Copying files to hard drives, USB flash drives, external drives, or other devices attached to individual systems or devices connected via a local or wide area network is an effective way of ensuring backups are available locally when you need them. With any good data recovery plan, keeping local copies of backups is essential. However, due to risks associated with physical disasters, ransomware, theft, and other threats, keeping local backups should never be the only facet of your strategy. In addition to keeping up-to-date local backups of your files and data, you should always store at least one copy offsite as is required with the 3-2-1 rule (i.e. an offsite backup server or in the cloud.)

Cloud Backups

These days, it seems that wherever you turn, there is talk or news about businesses migrating to the cloud (or running software and systems remotely via the Internet.) And, backup solutions are no exception. In short, cloud backups are secure offsite copies of data that are stored on remote servers and accessed via an Internet connection. Cloud backups are an excellent option for providing additional redundancy and security for businesses that want to ensure their important data is available if and when onsite or physical data disasters strike.

Cloud Backups and Online File Storage Are Not the Same

Many businesses use Dropbox, Google Drive, and other online storage websites to store backup copies of important files. And, while these types of services are okay for storing and sharing a few files, limitations with online storage sites (i.e. limited file versioning, lack of automated backups, limited backup folders, etc.) prevent them from being true cloud backups. A true cloud backup service enables you to create automated backups of complete systems and store as many versions of backups as you need.)

Martin O’Brien
LoughTec Service Manager