Increasing Cyber Security Through Effective Data Backup and Recovery

How many business owners do you think would be able to afford going through a complete loss of company data? The only right answer is: Only the ones who are able to execute a recovery process from a full system back up.

Data backup processes have been getting plenty of attention in recent years thanks to the rise of ransomware attacks, which have proven to be more financially damaging than computer viruses such as the MyDoom and Klez computer viruses from the early 2000s. Whereas legacy malware tends to focus on locking up software applications and operating systems, ransomware attacks go after operational data, which is often the most valuable asset that business enterprises manage.

In a typical ransomware attack, hackers find ways to intrude networks so that they can install and launch a special kind of malware, one that applies a layer of encryption to all files. The decryption keys are kept by the attackers so that they can offered as part of a ransom demand. The most expensive ransomware payment in history took place in April 2021, when insurance company CNA Financial paid $40 million in exchange for the keys needed to access files. With a reliable data backup, ransomware attacks can be easily mitigated.

Data backups should be part of all business continuity and disaster recovery plans. They should be treated as vital business processes, which means that they should be thoroughly checked for integrity. Depending on your recovery planning, you can choose between full, differential, or incremental data backups. Needless to say, the backup process and storage should always be secure whether data is sent to the cloud or replicated offsite. It is generally easier to ascertain security when the backup is placed in local storage, but it wouldn't hurt to apply encryption as well.

Testing the process of recovering from backups is something that many companies fail to do. Even if you diligently back up your entire network to the bare metal on a daily basis, you still need to ensure that recovery will not be encumbered, and the best way to do so is by running a full recovery dry run at least once a month.