What is a backup?
It is a copy of your important files that you do not want to lose. If you are an individual, they could be your family photos and videos, and other relevant documents, most of which are kept on your computer, phone or tablet. If you are a company, they could be customer details, quotes, orders, databases, or payment details.
Why is backup important?
It is important because it can be used to restore lost files to your device after a data loss event has occurred. This could for example be a flood, a fire, physical damage to your device or a hack. Furthermore, if you have backups of your data that you can quickly recover, you will be less exposed to the potential effects of a ransomware attack.
Things to consider when backing up your data:
1. Make a regular and frequent backups.
It is important to make backup copies regularly. Determining how often your data is updated can help you create a schedule of how regularly your data gets backed up. If critical data is frequently updated, you will need a more frequent schedule. Whereas more static data may only need weekly or even monthly backups.
There are some solutions that allow you to make backups automatically. Using automated backups not only saves time, but also ensures that you have the latest version of your files should you need them.
2. Keep your backups in separate media.
The idea of a backup is to make a copy for safekeeping. That copy must be stored in a location different from where the original files are kept. If they are stored on the same hardware and that hardware is damaged or stolen, the backup copies might be lost along with the original files. You should protect your backup from unauthorized access at all times.
On the other hand, you should keep in mind that third party services need to comply with laws and regulations. This could mean that authorities could get access to your data in case of legal procedures, subpoenas, etc. depending on the country or region where you or your data are located.
3. Encrypt your backups.
Having encrypted backup copies stored in a secure location different than your activity, gives you resiliency. Encryption provides an additional layer of security since decryption will be required before you can be granted access to the data. This is an extra assurance for your data. Remember that you have to keep the encryption key in a safe place to protect it.
You could use VeraCrypt to encrypt your backups. VeraCrypt is a free open source disk encryption software for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux.
4. Test your backups.
After creating your backup, you should always test it. In this way, you can ensure that the data you saved is actually accessible and usable in case you need it. If you experience any problems with the backup that you have already taken (e.g. corrupted data), a new one needs to be taken.
Encripto hopes this article is useful to you, and if you would like to know more steps that you can take to increase cyber security, we recommend that you read our posts Why is Cyber Security Important? – Part 1 and Why is Cyber Security Important? – Part 2 as well.