March 31st is World Backup Day. Availability is one of the key factors to cyber-security. Without being able to access your files, or recover them, you are not truly secure.  Taking a call from a from a customer, family or friend who don’t think that regular backups are necessary can be awkward when they can’t access their files.

To help you understand why I’m so fanatical about this topic, I would like to share with you a personal experience about my own brush with cybercrime. Admittedly, this event pales in comparison to many that you might read on the internet.

It was just like any other Thursday. I was sitting at my desk working on a client project when the calls started coming in from a customer where we only manage the network. The first caller was saying that they could no longer access a network file that they use every day. After several more calls and a little troubleshooting, we found that six computers had been hit with ransomware. Many more could not access the network documents that had been encrypted. This was a large financial hit to my customer because employees could not do their jobs. They could not service customers, access their CRM, or make sales.  We recommended not paying the ransom as the files on the network were backed up. The six user workstations however had to be re-installed from scratch. While we recommend that personal files and documents be kept on the network, the existing desktop support company didn’t address this with the customer. Some of the employees felt that the data was safer on their desktop or just didn’t know that they should save their files to the network. Subsequently, all user data on these machines was lost. Two techs worked on the affected workstations and it took the better part of a day to get them all back online. The salespeople who used these systems lost personal information and work projects because they didn’t save their work to the proper location. 

Had this customer been using TelStrong for desktop and server support, we would have insisted on a backup strategy to keep critical files safe.

One other thing regarding ransomware and backups: Not all backups are created equal. Choosing the wrong backup software may leave your backups encrypted while other solutions copy real-time changes leaving your backup files unreadable as well.

Ransomware is not the only threat to your files, only the most recent. Natural disasters, theft, human error, and hardware failure are only a few of the risks that your data faces.

TelStrong follows the 3-2-1 backup strategy. This common IT strategy states:

  1. Keep three copies of all data.
  2. Data should be stored on two different forms of media (cloud, disk, tape, or optical) backup
  3. Store One copy in a remote location

This strategy reminds me of the age-old quote:

 “If you don’t have at least three copies of your critical files, you didn’t really want to keep them anyway.  - unknown 

While I don’t know who originally said this, however, it is as true today as it  was 20 years ago.

In closing, I leave you with these questions. If your data was lost or encrypted:

  1. Could you recover?
  2. How long would it take you to recover?
  3. How old is the backup you would recover from?
  4. Would you like to know how?