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Addressing The Security Risk of Live Backups

If you stop to think about it, the breadth and scope of IT risk facing your organization are downright sickening. You’ve got global ransomware like WannaCry and NotPetya, which are growing more complex and sophisticated by the day. You’ve got botnets like Mirai, capable of bringing down an entire segment of the Internet.

You’ve got state-sponsored black hats, cyberterrorism, corporate espionage, communications site templates - it’s enough to make your head spin. There’s a good chance you’re already bolstering your security against these threats. You’re likely already hardening your infrastructure and training your staff.

Backing up your systems and data is an essential part of this approach - but unless you know how to protect those backups (live backups in particular), they are an imperfect defense, at best.



Live Backups

See, here’s the problem. Criminals (ransomware developers in particular) know that backups are one of the biggest threats to their craft. As such, they’re willing to go to great lengths to attack yours. They’ll design malicious software that infects your backups without you knowing, or else attack those backups directly.

Here’s what you can do to prevent that from happening:

  • Always keep multiple copies of critical files and systems. The key here is redundancy. In the same way that having multiple switches ensures proper failover in your network, having multiple backups (in multiple locations) ensures that even if one of your backups is compromised, the others are kept safe and secure.
  • Test your backups constantly. Picture this - your system ends up infected with ransomware. Instead of paying the hackers, you wipe everything, confident that you can restore it from your backups. Only when you go to check the backups, you come to the sickening realization that they’re corrupt, and your data is lost for good. Actively test and monitor your backups, lest you wind up in this situation.
  • Air gap everything. Ideally, your backups should be kept entirely separate from your active servers except when files are being copied over. Mind you; this is a bit more difficult to do with straight server mirroring - that’s where the redundancy once more comes in.
  • Consider something like the Sheltered Harbor Initiative. A coalition of some of the largest financial services firms in the US, Sheltered Harbor’s organizations have worked together to create a distributed system of backups that are shared between them. Data is spread across this system, and whenever one bank goes down, another can offer its processing power until that bank gets back on its feet.


From A Wannabe To A Startupper [Free EBook]


Your data and systems are under constant threat from both internal and external bad actors. Backups are an essential element of protecting yourself. But unless you properly maintain and secure them, they are of little help. Follow the advice here, and you can ensure your data maintains its integrity and your systems stay operational through even the worst storm.


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15 Best Free WordPress Backup Plugins



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Posting contributed articles about the major web design highlights and novelties. Come across a handful of useful tutorials and guides shared by experts in the web design and online marketing fields.

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One response to “Addressing The Security Risk of Live Backups”

  1. Mike says:

    The first para “Always keep multiple copies of critical files and systems.” is 100% correct I do it all the time have kept backup at 2 different hard drive

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