Become a Backup Pro: Things You Need to Know About Backup

Of course, you know that having backups is essential for your business. But why? What makes backups so important? Statistics prove that backups play a huge role in safeguarding your data. Backups ensure the availability of your data after disruptive events such as accidental deletions, ransomware attacks, disasters or system failures. No matter the scenario, backups allow you to restore your data and keep the production environment running. Let’s review the recent backup-related facts and discuss why backing up your data is of the highest priority.

Before We Start

Statistics reveal holes in the data recovery process stemming from poor backup management. In addition, the numbers show that occurrences of disaster-related incidents and ransomware attacks have increased in recent years. Failure to back up data can prompt permanent data loss without the ability to recover. Don’t take the risk; back up your data with NAKIVO Backup & Replication.

NAKIVO Backup & Replication is a comprehensive solution that offers backup and recovery services for physical, virtual, cloud and SaaS environments. NAKIVO Backup & Replication delivers advanced features that can simplify backup processes. Most importantly, NAKIVO Backup & Replication is an affordable, agentless and lightweight solution that can scale up to infrastructures of any size.

When Numbers Talk: Why Backing Up is Critical

It’s vital to back up data. But not just back up. Your backups should be conducted according to the highest standards. The latest statistics show that:

  • 50% of data restores fail due to poor backup management

A backup is always better than no backup. Backups ensure the recovery of your data in case of a ransomware attack, natural disaster or system failure. However, according to the latest statistics:

  • 20% of businesses still don’t back up their data

Backups are integral to disaster recovery. Any catastrophe that has natural causes, such as fire, flood, earthquake, power outage, etc., is considered a disaster. When it comes to disaster recovery (DR), your backup becomes a part of a larger disaster recovery strategy. Disaster recovery involves meticulous preparation. During a disaster, you need to failover your production site to the DR site and then failback when it’s safe to do so. An alarming fact is that:

  • 50% of businesses have faced a disaster-related situation in the last two years

Not Backing Up: How Much Would It Cost You?

Not backing up can turn out to be expensive for your business. If you lose data without the possibility to recover, the whole production environment can be affected. This particularly concerns client-oriented businesses such as healthcare and banking. Losing data can cost you a ton! The latest numbers reveal the amount of financial loss per industry:

  • $429 per record in the healthcare industry
  • $210 per record in the financial industry
  • $150 per record in other industries

Why Email Backup is a Top Priority

Today most businesses rely on email to communicate. Roughly three hundred billion email messages are sent daily over the net! Emails often contain critical information about your organization and important attachments. No wonder, emails are often targeted by cybercriminals. Hackers can take over your entire machine and from there invade your email. Or they can access your email with stolen credentials. A phishing scam using an email message can compromise your entire system. But even that is not our major point! The problem is that if a hacker or disgruntled insider deletes your email messages or attachments, you may lose sensitive data that is crucial to your workflow.

Emails can often be deleted unintentionally, and only later found to contain critical data required for legal compliance, for example. By backing up emails, you can ensure the successful recovery of your data despite its permanent deletion. According to the latest statistics:

  • 38 times more email data loss occurs than IT professionals think
  • 32% of companies don’t back up email
  • 95% of IT leaders think that company data is at risk on email

Stand Your Ground Against Ransomware

Ransomware is the main cause of data loss. Ransomware can target physical and virtual environments by using multiple channels. You can unwittingly download ransomware by clicking a compromised attachment in your email or visiting a malicious website. Other social engineering tactics are:

  • Bating. Luring employees with discounts or free giveaways to distribute malicious software.
  • Pretexting. Creating a fake scenario to lure the victim into disclosing credentials or other types of information. Attackers may impersonate someone from upper management in the company.
  • Scareware. Threatening the victim about an incoming malware attack, then fooling the victim into visiting the infected site for the purpose of getting virus protection software.
  • Diversion theft. Tricking the victim into sending sensitive information to the wrong person. This is usually accomplished by altering email addresses. The victim doesn’t notice the change and sends a message to the wrong recipient. Smishing. Using mobile devices to fool the victim into giving out valuable credentials to bypass the second authentication.
  • Quid Pro Quo. Asking for login credentials in exchange for a service or a gift. A hacker can act as a researcher and gain access to the network in exchange for a small amount of money or gift.
  • Tailgating. Following someone into a restricted access area. Attackers may claim they are lost or that they have forgotten their ID cards.
  • Water-holing. Launching massive attacks on organizations by infecting the websites that those organizations frequently use.

As ransomware tactics and phishing scams become more sophisticated, ransomware has become one of the top reasons for data loss. In fact, statistics reveal that:

  • A ransomware attack will take place every 11 seconds in 2021!
  • There were 200 million ransomware attacks in Q3 2020 around the globe
  • The average recovery time from a ransomware attack in 2021 is 16.2 days!

Backups are the best defense when it comes to ransomware. You can recover your compromised or deleted data with the help of backups. Even if the attackers delete some or even all of your files, you can still reinstate your production with the help of backups. Remember, paying a ransom is never the best option. You can recover your data safely and avoid additional costs with backups.

In 2021, ransomware attacks reached their highest level to date. Thousands of small companies and large organizations have fallen victim to ransomware. Though some of the companies paid a ransom, others used backups to recover their data in the first place. For example, a small company that produces video games, CD Projekt Red, was attacked by ransomware in February 2021. The company had an internal policy that emphasized the importance of having a strong recovery plan in place. Because of this, they were able to recover most of their data from backups.

Backup Best Practices is Your Best Friend

You can now see that the risks of losing your data in 2021 are incredibly high. Once you understand how critical backups are for keeping your data safe and available, you can think about how to back up your data. Which strategies should you implement? What backup solution is the best choice for your business? When developing your custom backup plan, follow backup best practices:

Implement the 3–2–1 approach.

The 3–2–1 rule is the gold standard for managing backup copies. This approach suggests having 3 copies of your data: your production data plus 2 backup copies kept on different storage media. You can keep one copy in the cloud and another copy offsite on a distant server. This is done to ensure hassle-free and safe recovery no matter the scenario! Let’s say you’re facing a major disruptive event, and one of your backups becomes compromised. In this situation, you can still use your offsite backup to recover your production environment.

Perform incremental backups.

Running full backups every time you need to back up your data is not practical. It takes up time and most importantly storage space. That’s why modern backup solutions rely on Changed Block Tracking (CBT) or Resilient Change Tracking (RCT) to deliver incremental backups. These technologies, created by Microsoft and VMware, let you back up only those blocks of data that have changed since your last backup. This means that only new data is backed up and stored in the backup repository.

Verify your backups.

Don’t assume that your new backup can be used for recovery. Instead, verify that your backup is viable. It’s better to check it on the spot, rather than find out later that you can’t recover from your backup. The good news is that a smart backup solution allows you to run automatic backup verifications right after you perform your backups.

Verify your disaster recovery plan (DRP).

Testing your disaster recovery plan is a more complex process than verifying backups. It’s not entirely automatic, and it involves more involvement. Before testing your disaster recovery plan, identify your Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs). Set up success criteria for your test. Then run the test and analyze the results.

Automate data protection.

You can schedule and run your job automatically. Your backup solution should allow you to automatically add/remove VMs to/from your backup job. Automation simplifies your workflow, saves time, and allows you to avoid human error. You can set up your backups to run any day, night or during the weekend, and forget about them altogether. The solution will do it for you!

Encrypt your backups.

When data transits from point A to point B, it becomes vulnerable to threat. Cybercriminals may use this opportunity to steal private information or credentials. However, even at rest, your data is not safe; it needs to be protected. Your backup solution may allow you to encrypt your data in flight and at rest.

Run app-aware backups.

Application consistent backups ensure that you capture a full picture of your data prior to running a backup. Consistent data is seamless across applications and databases. This means that your backups are flawless. They don’t have data missing or incomplete. To create an app-aware backup, your backup software will temporarily freeze your VM prior to the backup and then create a snapshot of it. This is done to capture all work in progress: your pending transactions are flushed to the disk and become a part of your backup. If your backup is not app-aware, some of the data may be missing during the recovery process.

Use role-based access control (RBAC).

This feature is a security measure that allows only authorized personnel to handle your backups. RBAC helps to avoid human error and offers an extra security cushion, making it hard for attackers, disgruntled or incompetent employees to access your data. With RBAC, you can assign roles to certain employees. For example, you can have one person handling just backups, and another employee taking care of the recoveries.

Back up personally owned devices (BYOD).

Sometimes employees use their own devices for work purposes. In this case, it’s essential to back up those devices as well. This will prevent data or projects from disappearing as a result of a ransomware attack, disaster or system failure. When backing up employees’ devices:

  • Don’t involve employees in the backup process
  • Minimize the strain on resources during the backup

Summing up

In 2021, backups are essential for keeping your data recoverable and available after ransomware attacks, disasters, system failures and all other data loss situations. Having an efficient backup process ensures data recoverability and saves you big time if you are faced with data loss. Following best backup practices at all times can help you establish a well-managed backup routine. Don’t think twice about backing up your data. Just do it and keep your data safe!

NAKIVO is a US-based corporation dedicated to developing the ultimate VM backup and site recovery solution: