The threat of ransomware looms large for all businesses. The consequences can be a death sentence to an unprepared organization. Avoiding infiltration is the first line of defense. It protects against ransomware. The next line of defense is having an effective data backup plan. Lastly, one must have a disaster recovery plan.
A ransomware attack is exactly what is sounds like. First, an outside bad actor gets into a company’s network. Next, they encrypt their data. They do this in order to try to extort a large sum of money. Then they decrypt their data and give it back. The threat of this kind of attack is especially significant for regulated businesses. It can expose vulnerabilities. These should have been protected as a part of standard operating procedures. If an organization has their data backed up, then they can restore their systems. Thus, they can avoid being forced to pay a ransom. Sounds easy enough, right? Not quite. Ransomware operators know that. Therefore, they will not usually launch an attack right away. They will wait until they have seized control of the backups as well.
Choosing the Right Backup Plan for Your Business
It is tricky to plan a modern, effective backup strategy. A company must choose a reliable, cost efficient, and proven storage strategy. Companies need a backup strategy that also meets their recovery time. They must also choose a recovery point objectives (RTO and RPO). It must not be accessible to the bad actors. They should not be able to go through normal administrative credentials and remote control means. Furthermore, there is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. So, finding one solution that will work under every circumstance is unrealistic. There are many factors to consider. Your team can get help choosing backup and storage strategy for your team. The help will work best for your organization through an MSP. (Get a more in-depth review. Audit of your current backup and disaster recovery strategy. Please contact us for a free assessment.)
Recovery Point and Recovery Time Objectives (RPO and RTO)
The first step is to plan an effective backup and disaster recovery strategy. You need to know your recovery point objectives and recovery time objectives. Recovery point objective is defined as the interval between backups. Recovery time objective measures the time it takes for the business to be operational again. The recovery point objective will ultimately govern data loss. It calculates what is acceptable loss in the event of a disaster. The recovery time objective dictates the acceptable amount of time systems can be down. The answers to these questions will ultimately determine what you need. Decide how much time, money and effort will go into setting up your backup and disaster recovery strategy. Thoughtful planning in this department goes a long way. They will not need to setup costly, redundant and clunky backup systems. For more on RTO and RPO, see this blog post.
Backup Technology and Type of Backups
There are three basic kinds of backups: full, differential and incremental. Full backups are a complete back up of all data. That sounds pretty good. Why use anything else? Easy. Firstly, the system resources needed to take a full backup are significant. This can easily cripple your system for the duration of the backup. Secondly, the storage requirements of a full-backups only strategy are massive and grow exponentially from there. As a result, there is a full-backup only strategy very cost prohibitive. Lastly, the time it takes to perform a full backup makes it impossible to backup changes in your data throughout the day.
Enter differential and incremental backups. Differential backups record all data changes from the last full backup. Incremental backups only backup the data that has changed on subsequent dates. Traditionally, backup operators would perform a full backup monthly. Whereas, differential backups occur weekly and incremental backups occur daily. This backup process, however, meant that restoring backups (between full backups) was a long, error-prone operation.
Companies are now backing up more data than ever. Therefore, the acceptable amount of data loss between backups is a lot smaller. As a result, traditional backup methods are now costly and obsolete. In opposition, modern backup technologies use a hybrid full-differential-incremental backup methodology. This is already built into their backup operations. Modern backup vendors will use a base backup, in other words, a full backup. They then record subsequent changes as incremental backups. These incremental backups are then periodically merged into the base image. This process essentially makes every backup a full backup.
Backup Data Location and Redundancy
It matters how many copies of the data are retained. It also matters where you store it. For instance, if your only copy is on premise, you risk losing everything during a natural disaster. Similarly, having only a copy in the cloud lends itself to problems. It is difficult to download multiple terabytes of data from the cloud instantly. That is, assuming you have internet service after a disaster. Disaster recovery experts recommend using the 3-2-1 method to protect your business. The 3-2-1 method means keeping three copies of your data across two different sites. One copy remains offline or inaccessible from hackers. Moreover, the offline copy can also protect you. This protection is especially useful in the event that a ransomware attack affects your online backup repositories.
At GoComputek, as IT experts, we recommend exploring more modern backup solutions. Such options allow you to retain one copy on-premise (off of the domain). It also joins one copy in the cloud. The copy has multiple recovery points and anti-ransomware protection built-in. This ensures that your backups are safe. You will not need a third offline copy. It also allows you to focus your time and effort on increasing the RPO. Then it minimizes the RTO and developing a killer DR plan in the event of a full site failure.
Security and Privacy
Protecting a company’s backups repositories is just as important as having the backups. However, not all backup vendors offer the same level of security. This crucial item is often overlooked by backup operators today. Therefore, the results in large payouts to bad actors. Make sure that your backups vendor provides some form of multi-factor authentication. Another offering would be off-domain methods to access the backup data. Username and passwords can be hacked. These are often compromised during a ransomware attack. Having extra steps to authenticate the user provides extra security.
Disaster Recovery Procedure
Onsite servers can go offline during a natural disaster. Data loss can also occur in the event of system-wide data loss. When companies go down, it is imperative that they regain functionality quickly and easily. Lack of access to mission critical systems is downtime. And downtime is money lost. Furthermore, downtime for regulated entities can have significant financial implications. Make sure that the backup storage service you choose has a tested disaster recovery model. Modern and cost-effective disaster recovery tools work. They make near real-time full site disaster recovery possible and accessible to businesses. They function for companies of all sizes and are now widely available.
Scalability and Optimization
Businesses need grow and change with time. As a result and data storage needs to expand. Find a service provider that will allow for that growth in a cost-effective manner. This is a great opportunity to leverage the power and scalability of the cloud. It will benefit your organization for years to come. Many businesses have outdated and inefficient backup processes in place. These provide business owners and investors a false sense of security. Ultimately, this costs organizations thousands of dollars per year. Optimization of backup systems is a critical. It is a necessary part of the disaster recovery process. Technology and threats to your business are constantly evolving. Therefore, remaining complacent will cost you in the long run.
In short, careful research should go into choosing the best cloud backup strategy. Your company needs the right backup storage strategy. Get a free assessment, here. We ‘ve been helping businesses keep their data safe for 15 years. We would be happy to help you too!