The importance of off-site backups

There are as many different backup strategies as there are IT consultants, but all will agree that having multiple backups to different media types, and having an off-line or ‘cold’ backup is crucial for every business.

Modern malware and viruses, and in particular ransomware, has the ability to seek out and permanently destroy any backup that is attached to your system. For example, if you have an external hard disk attached to your infected device and also have an online backup, both of these could be permanently erased by malicious software, along with the original copies of the files from your hard disk.

Windows 10 is starting to implement ransomware protection that aims to stop typical ransomware behaviour, but it is not perfect. and many cloud backup systems also offer ransomware protection by keeping multiple versions of files and detecting suspicious behaviour. But ransomware is getting smart about this and can seek out the backup system login credentials from the infected computer, log in to the cloud account automatically and simply request a data erasure directly from the provider.

So to protect against these threats, an off-line backup is a must, and this is best achieved in a typical business by utilising multiple physical media. In a typical scenario, at least three external backup hard disks are used in rotation, with one disk attached to the system at any time, a second disk stored off-site, and a third disk or fourth disk that may be in transport between the two locations so that a copy is stored safely off-site at all times.

It is also important to encrypt the backup media in case of loss or theft, and to also have a policy in place as part of your disaster recovery plan that includes regular, scheduled testing of all backups.

For our support contract customers, we offer a managed off-site backup service for a low additional cost.

If you would like further advice, call us on 01293 446677, or fill in the enquiry form at the bottom of this page for a quick response.