Category Archives: Data Backup

Types of Backup and Storage Plans

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What are my backup options for my business?

At this point in the digital transformation, most businesses are aware that computer and data backups are essential. The ability to restore your information and your infrastructure is a safety precaution that it would be foolish not to have prepared. If a hacker ransomwares your network, a good backup can make it possible to simply wipe and restore instead of fretting about lost files. If a natural disaster takes out your office building, the right backups can allow you to completely set up shop somewhere new.

But not all backups are equal. Backups built and managed by a hands-on IT team are likely going to have a few more useful traits and features than a default backup system set-and-forgotten out of the box. Let’s take a closer look at the differences you might see in your backups and improvements that can be made to any business backup system.

Local vs Cloud Backups

The first important backup decision to make is where to store them. Backups are compressed, but they are still huge files that contain copies of entire databases, networks, and operating systems. Backups stored locally are more accessible, you don’t even need outside internet access to copy, open, and restore from local backups. Local backups are faster and more convenient in the office, but they are also more vulnerable.

If the server banks containing your local backups are damaged or disrupted, your backups could be lost. Fire, flood, sabotage, and self-spreading malware all put your local backups at risk.

Cloud backups are absolutely safe. Cloud server storage is not just remote from your location, it’s also distributed so that copies of your backups are stored in storage repositories all over the world. You will always be able to access your backups, and your backups will be safe from all but the most insidious server-host attacks. You can even download your backups from the cloud to restore a computer in an entirely remote location.

But cloud backups must be downloaded every time you make a restoration and uploaded to the cloud every time a new backup is taken, which can be a real pinch with limited or metered bandwidth.

Automated vs Manual Backups

The next question is how you handle your regular backups. Backups must be made periodically so that the data is up-to-date if you need to restore your systems from a backup. But when and how do you take those new backups? Manual backups are those taken by a person enacting the backup process. They may be entering a series of commands or even hand-copying data from one server to another.

Automated backups are when a program runs itself to make copies of all the necessary data and then stores those copies where they can be found if a recovery is needed. Automated backups take up far less time, but much be managed. If an automated backup malfunctions or if the process is flawed, it might create useless backups while creating a false sense of security.

Data vs Infrastructure Backups

Now consider the size and complexity of your backups. There are many different ways to take backups based on how you expect to enact recoveries and restorations. Some businesses only bother to backup one server of data or just one database because everything else they need or use is a SaaS program or cloud service that doesn’t need to be backed up. Data backups are those that only include data that will be reloaded into a fresh identical server.

On the other hand, some businesses intentionally backup the entire infrastructure for each workstation, server, and network. With a more comprehensive backup, you can create an identical work environment beyond your most important data. Infrastructure backups make for faster recoveries and far less new installation setup for workstations that are wiped and recovered.

What types of backups and recovery plans will work best for your business? It all depends on how much downtime you can afford and how much risk your data may be facing. If you’d like to consult on managed IT backup and recovery services for your business, contact us today!

The Coronavirus Impact: Have You Reviewed Your BDR Plan?

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Is your business prepared for the cybersecurity consequences of remote work?

As the coronavirus pandemic worsens, the fears of many people across the world are increasing. Unfortunately, hacking and the presence of scams are also increasing. Coronavirus scams continue to appear with increasing frequency. Cybercriminals are not just trying to attack individuals, but they are also targeting businesses in the following industries:  Healthcare, aerospace, hospitality, and Insurance

Hackers want to manipulate the many fears that individuals and business owners have about COVID-19. Everyone is doing their best to not become infected with the deadly virus, but hackers are hoping to infect your personal and business devices with a virus. Many users have already been tricked into revealing some of their most personal information, and it could be through a phishing scam or a recently created domain.

Coronavirus-related scams have unfortunately become a money making enterprise for criminals. People are constantly searching online for more information about the virus, and these are the ones who are the main targets of the scams. It is so important for everyone to be aware of the hacking and scam attacks in order to become a victim.

Why are hackers using COVID-19 to target people?

Unfortunately, hackers thrive on using frightening current events to prey on people with the hope that they will go against their better judgment. Sometimes people’s ability to recognize a threat will dwindle because their fear and confusion will get the best of them. Unfortunately, these types of attempts happen often, especially when there are concerns about the economy or when a natural disaster occurs.

How are businesses impacted?

When you look at everything through a cybercriminal’s eyes, there are hacking and phishing opportunities everywhere. Hackers are always changing their methods and adjusting their criminal activities to take advantage of the fears and concerns of people every time there is an outbreak, disaster, or economic concern.

There are many opportunities surrounding them, and this gives them new ways to manipulate people. Attackers do not care what measures they have to take in order to take advantage of the real concerns that people have. Cybercriminals will do anything for a financial gain, including exploiting the fears that people have about contracting a deadly virus.

Every business and organization is now a target. Businesses that have not taken any security measures to protect their business, employees, customers, etc. can find themselves in a position that it may be hard to get out of.

What does this mean for workplace security?

Unfortunately, many businesses were not prepared to have the majority of their workforce working from a location outside of the workplace. The businesses that were not prepared to transition to a remote workforce have been presented with a variety of challenges. A remote workforce can lead to a variety of security concerns and risks.

As a result, many cybercriminals will look to take advantage of the businesses that are allowing employees to work from home. Unfortunately, those who use wireless networks that are open to others may bring more risks. Public network connections will open the door for the theft of confidential information and several network security issues.

What can your business do to lower its chances of being attacked?

If you currently have a Backup and Disaster Recovery(BDR) plan in place, we encourage you to take some time to review your plan. Do you think your plan is effective and efficient enough to provide protection when you need it? Will you be protected against malware and other threats? It is important that you have an accurate snapshot of the health of your systems and that you review your activity and event logs. If you have a significant number of your workforce working from home, we encourage you to ensure your remote-access technologies are safe and effective.

As the coronavirus continues to spread and impact more people, more people will search the web for more information. Unfortunately, hackers will see this as an opportunity to take advantage of your attempt to protect yourself and your family. For more information on how to protect your personal information, your devices, etc., contact us today.

4 Data Disaster Types that Cloud Backups Protect You From

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Moving to a hybrid type backup system with onsite and cloud retention policies is the best disaster recovery solution available

Data disasters are a fact of life, but like natural disasters, they are events that most businesses think will never come for them. You never see the software update that corrupts all your data coming. You never expect the rains this week to flood your building and drown your servers. It’s easy to think that malware attacks happen to other businesses, but somehow yours won’t get hit. But data disasters happen and businesses rarely see them coming.

Fortunately, you don’t have to see them coming. You just have to have a backup plan. That’s why backup-recovery plans are essential. Taking backups gives you a way to partially or completely restore your data from a save-point, like a video game where you can die and reload. And the best backups today are those stored on the cloud. Cloud backups are not on any one server that can be destroyed are damaged. They are distributed over several servers throughout the world and therefore can be retrieved no matter what happens to your company’s local servers or even cloud servers in a particular location.

Let’s take a look at four completely different types of disasters that cloud backups can protect you from.

Local Software Failures and Data Corruption

Software updates are always the type of data disaster that takes a company by surprise. You’re confident in your tech stack and are working with good software, but updates don’t always work. Especially if you’re updating from several versions behind. Data needs to be altered and updated to align with any changes made in the software, but this can result in corruption. Some companies have experienced complete data loss because their data was corrupted in a software update.

Updating the software on your local or dedicated cloud servers can corrupt all the data on your normal servers. But cloud backups mean you can bring back that data at any time in the original form. You can try the update more carefully or import your old data into a fresh install of the latest version without the disaster of servers-full of corrupted data.

Fires, Floods, and Hurricanes

Natural disasters and human-made disasters can do a number on your office building. If you’ve ever seen a glass tower wrecked by tornadoes or hurricanes or seen streets flowing like rivers with rainwater, you know that office buildings are not impervious from the elements. Your basement full of servers can flood in a storm or the windows might blow out with equipment destroyed within. Your building might catch fire from lightning or faulty wires or a forgotten space heater and the whole interior can go up in flames.

Whether part of your building and equipment is damaged or everything in your workplace, your cloud backups are safe. You can rebuild your data and your entire business infrastructure by loading those backups into new computers in an undamaged location.

Sudden Building Relocation

Speaking of setting up in a new location, that’s another great capability of cloud backups. Whether natural disaster or sudden logistics requirement, cloud backups make it possible to set up a new business location anywhere with any computers. You can build off a new location by cloning your backups into a new set of computers. Or you can quickly relocate, rebuilding your business from scratch if necessary if the truly unexpected or disastrous happens. That’s the great thing about cloud backups, you can load them to and from anywhere.

Network-Invasion Type Malware

Finally, cloud backups keep your data safe in the face of localized malware. There are several types of malware that specialize in invading your business network. Like some ransomware, these malware types invade one computer on your local network, then spread to other devices on the network. Your entire local computer system can be infected in minutes, which is most easily eradicated by wiping everything to factory settings and reinstalling from scratch.

Cloud backups allow you to do this without worry or delay. If your tech-stack is prepared for quick redeployment and all your data is backed up on the cloud, then a network-wide infection can be recovered in hours, not days.

Is your business ready to fully restore your data from a cloud backup? If you’re planning to build or improve on your backup-recovery system, contact us today! Our team is ready to make your data immortal.

How Often Should You Take Backups?

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We all get busy and backups is one of the last things on your mind, however its critical when disaster strikes

Backup recovery is something that every business should invest in. Not just because it’s a smart thing to do on every technical guide, but because disasters happen. Big disasters like floods and fire and ransomware along with little disasters like accidentally deleting a Client’s CRM entry. Even run of the mill software updates can corrupt all the data that your software supports. Backup recovery data makes sure that no matter what happens, you can roll back the clock a day, a week, or a month to the last time your data was complete.

But the functional question isn’t whether you should have backups, you should. The question is how often you should take those backups. What happens if your data is lost, and it’s been over a month of active project work and client data since your last backup? That’s an entire month of detailed work gone. On the other hand, you also don’t want to take backups of static assets so often that you fill your storage with identical archives.

So today, we’ve put together a quick rule-of-thumb guide on how often you should back up each type of your data.

Active Data – Continuous Version Control

The data you update every day should probably be backed up continuously. This is a special kind of backup known as version control, which not only takes ‘saves’ of your work but also tracks exactly when changes were made and who made them. Version control ensures that you can quickly and easily roll back any changes that don’t work, remove only the changes made by a specific person, restore versions that were completed minutes or hours ago if an ongoing project or client file is somehow damaged.

Continuous backups through version control give you the most fine-tuned ability to both edit things based on changes and to restore recent version after changes were made that did not ultimately pan out.

Ongoing Project Data – Twice a Day

Data that is updated as a result of an ongoing project may be more practical to uptdate once or twice a day. A database into which entries are added in chunks, for example, or an archive of paperwork for which only a few pages are added per day might be the type of data that you want backed up constantly, but not necessarily minute by minute.

Backups made once or twice a day ensure that your active files can always be restored to a very recent version, even if they are not the type of file that requires version control levels of detailed editing and constant tiny roll-backs.

Workstations and Hardware – Once a Week

Your workstations and hardware are often the hosts to a great deal of useful data, including the software and configurations that are loaded onto them. When you have a full backup of a device, you can reload it from a factory wipe or clone it onto a whole new device in a much shorter time than it would take to rebuild all the configurations, apps, and stored data files by hand. However, workstations and devices don’t change often or drastically enough to need to be backed up every single day.

Weekly is probably the most practical timeline for backing up devices, particularly if your team tends to store files locally and update their settings to streamline their work. A device backed up weekly can be quickly restored to it’s favored functioning state directly after a malware attack, update crash, or other general malfunctions that might require a restoration process.

Infrastructure and Settings – Once a Month

Finally, there are the big infrastructure backups. Your network and its configurations, for example, were not perfect for your business right out of the box. Your tech infrastructure and static company files were carefully built piece by piece and setting by setting until everything worked exactly the way it needs to for your business. It contains your tech stack, your network configurations, and all your security measures.

Backing your tech infrastructure and settings up monthly can ensure that even if you suffer a system-wide outage, physical disaster, or ransomware attack, you can bring the whole system back online. Even if you need all-new hardware to do it.

For more insights into smart IT management and data security, contact us today!