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When it comes to defending your company data against the plethora of external threats the one thing you really can’t be without is a robust backup solution, warns Ian Trump.

Accidents happen in real space and cyberspace. Sadly, when physical accidents, damage or theft occurs there is no “magic button” you can press to replace everything instantaneously. The closest thing we have is an insurance claim, and that can takes months. In cyberspace, however, things are very different.

Here, there is a technology that allows everything vital to a business to be almost instantaneously replaced, when accidents, theft, or corruption (the electronic equivalent of damage) occur. Although the feeling of violation will not be magically undone if cybercriminals are responsible; you will at least be back in business quickly. If you are doing the right thing, that is.

Backup technology has been around for a very long time. From the very first computers driven by punch cards or magnetic media, backup tapes have been ubiquitous. And they can be a life-saver in the event of something going wrong. Taking the tapes home at the end of the day was a function performed by many an IT professional – it was recognized as vital, yet was delivered inconsistently. As much as this type of offsite backup saved customer and business data; it also led to incidents of those tapes being lost or damaged in transit, potentially damaging the business and possibly opening up an avenue of unauthorized disclosure.

Today, we live in an era where constant, consistent, and secure backup is available. With the introduction of hosted backup services, your data is secured offsite. And modern systems allow for flexibility and data recovery on a massive scale – whole server images can be virtualized in the cloud or on new hardware that, you as a company, don’t have to finance. Hosted backup services also allow for quick recovery times, especially when combined with an inexpensive portable hard drive or Network Attached Storage (NAS) solution.

What baffles me, though, is that despite the ease of use and the obvious importance of this function to businesses, there are many companies that are not putting backup at the top of their priority list – I can’t understand for the life of me why. What makes this even more disturbing is that the capability for backup is even built into the operating systems we use – just look at the onboard functionality in the new Windows 10. Yet, for some reason many service providers are leaving this vital IT function un-configured or neglected. Yes, there are limitations to “native” backup capability; but limitations are not an excuse to become cavalier with customer or business data.

In countless incident response scenarios the first question to ask is always “do we have a backup?” If you’re looking for a quick win as an MSP or IT service provider then you need to look to improve your backup game across all your customers. If ransomware gets loose or there is a failure of some sort you will be glad you have reliable backup with flexibility to bring business systems and data online quickly.

Ian Trump

Security Lead at MaxFocus
Ian Trump, CD, CPM, BA is an ITIL certified Information Technology (IT) consultant with 20 years of experience in IT security and information technology. Ian enjoys and maintains a strong commitment to the security community. From 1989 to 1992, Ian served with the Canadian Forces (CF), Military Intelligence Branch; in 2002, he joined the CF Military Police Reserves and retired as a Public Affairs Officer in 2013. He is currently Security Lead at ControlNow working across all lines of business to define, create and execute security solutions and promote a safe, secure internet for Small & Medium Business world wide.
Ian Trump