Cyber Security Month - Back up your data

Part 2 in LumenVA’s series for European Cyber Security Month deals with ensuring you have a backup of your data. Read the other parts as they become available:
Passwords | Backups | Updates | Phishing

Why you need to have a data backup

What would happen if you woke up tomorrow, made your usual cup of coffee and started your work day to find you can’t access your data?

Perhaps a fire at the office has destroyed all the computers. Maybe a virus has had its wicked way and accessing the data is now impossible. Maybe your machine has just stopped working.

Think about that for a moment. What effect would that have on your business? Your relationship with your customers? Your ability to operate?

A very scary thought. Yet, it’s now easier than ever to ensure your important data is backed up and your downtime is minimised.

What data to back up

Cyber Security Backup - What

Your first step will be to note what data is essential to the operation of your business. Usually this will be things like documents, contacts, photos, graphics, calendars, emails etc.

The complexity of the data you hold will naturally dictate the sort of solution that will work best for you and your organisation. If you’re reading this, you likely don’t have an IT professional to hand. I’m assuming your backup needs are simply to ensure copies of your important files are to hand should disaster strike.

Where to keep your data backup

Once you know what to backup, you now need to decide on where to back up the data. Some options you could consider include:

Cyber Security Backup - Where
  • USB drive
  • External hard drive
  • Cloud storage (more on this option later)

Whatever you choose, note that the backup shouldn’t be physically stored in the same location as the original files. That fire that destroyed the original would have also destroyed your USB or external hard-drive.

Multiple backup locations are also a good idea.

Be aware of who has access to these backups, how they are moved and stored, how they are protected and safeguarded against loss or theft.

When to back up your data

You need to automate your back up process. I say this because, realistically, you’re not likely to spend time each day doing it by hand. Before long, it becomes another thing that gets put on the long finger.

Cyber Security Backup - When

Windows 10 offers a File History tool to back up and restore files to an external drive. You can choose the folders you wish to be backed up, which external drive you wish to send the backup to, and how often you with that backup to happen.

Mac users have Apples’s Time Machine available to them for the same purpose.

Additionally, there is various third party software that will also automate the process for you.

Cyber Security Backup - Cloud

Consider the cloud

An alternative to having a physical backup is to use a cloud storage solution. If you do your homework, I think it can be the best way to go. Things can be easily automated, and you’re not worried about keeping track of physical drives, and remembering to remove them from the office each day.

Some, such as OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox, will allow you to select folders on your computer to automatically update. Any changes to a file in a selected folder will be automatically updated on the cloud copy of the folder.

If you need a more robust backup solution, you could consider a subscription-based model. This article does a nice job of reviewing some options.

Remember, as with anything concerning your data nowadays, you must be aware of your obligations under GDPR before allowing any of your customer data to transfer to a third party.

Conclusion / TL;DR

  • You should to be backing up your files regularly.
  • It’s best to set up an automatic solution.
  • If backing up to a physical drive, ensure that it’s not stored in the same place as your live data.
  • If using a cloud based solution, be aware of your GDPR obligations.

October is the European Cyber Security Month. You can check out the official ECSM campaign website here.

LumenVA offers virtual assistance and flexible, remote support for businesses. Based in Waterford, Ireland and assisting clients around the world. Check out the services page to see how LumenVA can help you get stuff done.