Tag Archives: backup

Types of Backup and Storage Plans

3D Rendering Data Storage Archive Backup and Storage Plans concept

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?

security, cybersecurity, crisis, response, bdr plan

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

Cloud Backups concept. Security and safety of cloud computing

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.

9 Tips for Small Business Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery Plan written on a dart board

What is your Disaster Recovery Plan?

As a modern business, you need your network, internet access, and business software. You need the servers to host data, the coffee machines to flow, and you need the constant current of electricity to the entire infrastructure to keep the lights and computers on. When something goes wrong from ransomware to hurricanes, it’s important to have a plan that will get everyone back online and work resumed as quickly as possible. This process is known as disaster recovery and is something that every business has to contend with. Without a disaster recovery plan, you’re at risk of being completely technologically wiped out by malware or a local natural disaster. With one, you could potentially have your employees set back up after a complete system wipe in less than two hours.

1) Identify Your Most Likely Risks

Every time you start building a disaster recovery plan, whether it’s your first plan or an update to one that’s been in place for a decade, it’s important to re-assess the possible risks. These days, you’re more likely to get phished by a hacker than hit by a hurricane, but let’s face it, mother nature has also been doing some serious damage lately. You’ll want a disaster recovery plan that assumes several different possible disasters including malware that must be wiped with a factory reset and small corrections as might be necessary to fix a data entry mistake. Build a plan based on each of the most likely disasters that could take out your IT infrastructure or damage files.

2) Conduct Vulnerability Management

Vulnerability management refers to the process of seeking out possible security holes and weaknesses in your infrastructure and closing them. One of the best ways to prepare for a disaster is to do your best to prevent it. Vulnerability management not only ensures that you close a few security holes with updates and patches, it also lets you know which security holes can’t be completely closed and will need to be guarded and planned for instead.

3) Plan Disaster Recovery from End to Beginning

When you’re building a disaster recovery plan, start with the results you want to see at the end of recovery. What state should the computers be in? Consider the possibility of starting from scratch and establish how much restoration is needed to get to that point for each device and network assets. Department computers will need specific software and possibly data loaded into them and your central network infrastructure may need both software and configuration settings re-established before it is fully restored. Define how much you need to be included in the recovery and then build the steps need to recover.

4) Prioritize Levels of Disaster Recovery

Of course, if recovery is going to take a few hours,  the right prioritization can have strategic departments up and working faster than others. You can, for instance, prioritize to get the customer service team back online first and answering client questions about the service outage or prioritize getting your machinery back online if you handle manufacturing or run tests for clients. By prioritizing, you can get the most possible work out of a disaster recovery day and ensure that your return to functionality is as smooth as possible.

5) Keep the Recovery Plan Current

Disaster recovery plans are very specific to the software, data, and backup protocols that are in place when the plan is formed. If your infrastructure, configurations, or backup schedule are changed in any way, your disaster recovery plan is outdated which could leave the company vulnerable. It is vital that your backup recovery plans are kept completely current and updated every time a change is made to something that will need to be recovered into the new state.

6) Test Your Disaster Recovery Plan Regularly

When talking about the security of your company data and technical infrastructure, you can’t simply trust that a plan works simply because you put it together. Just as you would need to test a new product or appliance before relying on it, a disaster discovery plan also needs to be tested. Make sure that you can restore your computers to full or desired function before relaxing and continue to run regular tests to ensure that no small change has compromised your plan’s effectiveness.

7) Get Top Management Involved

All too often, a security or IT solution is implemented for everyone except top management who seem to float above the normal power responsibility hierarchy. However, if a company is going to be completely secure, everyone needs to get involved. Make sure that top management understands the disaster recovery plan and the right people are ready to lead implementation should they be the highest authority on site when a disaster strikes. This way, recovery plans will both be more thoroughly upheld and more effectively implemented when necessary.

8) Write a Disaster Recovery Guide

Once you have the entire disaster recovery plan plotted out from beginning to end, write a guide that uses the simplest possible terms to explain how to implement the plan. This ensures that no matter what bizarre circumstances a disaster might occur in, including the possibility of a skeleton holiday crew and a new-years malware attack, that backup recover can be put into action. The guide also serves as a fallback plan in case the disaster recovery plan designer is not available when a disaster occurs.

9) Run Regular Response and Recovery Drills

Finally, often the most effective disaster recovery involves the coordinated efforts of whole teams. When every employee knows how to reload their system from the cloud backup, you can even trust them to maintain local units because they can always restore to default. If you want to get your entire office back online in the shortest possible time, train your team thoroughly in how to respond to a disaster. This is a great way to run disaster recovery tests and train everyone in quick disaster response in one unifying company event.

Having a variety of disaster recovery plans with a strong basis in cloud backups and practiced recovery procedures is the key to getting your business back on its feet after any kind of disaster. Whether you’ve been targeted by a hacker or a natural disaster takes out your office, the right disaster recovery plan can have you up and running in a matter of hours. For more great tips and tricks on small business disaster recovery techniques, contact us today!