Backup – 5 tips to properly back up data

Backup - 5 tips to properly back up data

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Backup – 5 tips to properly back up data

Backups have long been an integral part of the IT infrastructure in the corporate world. Backing up data is also worthwhile for private households. Our guest author has five tips for your backup.

Backup is not an option

Anyone who thinks that data backup is a nice option, but not necessary, is extremely wrong. It is not uncommon for a hardware defect to occur, and blackmail Trojans are increasingly making life difficult. The Trojan locks the hard drive or a part of it, so much money can be extorted if the locked data is of great value.

In addition to companies, private individuals can quickly lose data. If the hardware fails, all data can be lost, including photos of the wedding and world trip. A backup is therefore not only important, but also a duty.

1. A backup is good, 2 to 3 are better

The 3-2-1 rule applies to the number and storage of your backups. This means: three data records on two backup media, one of which is not in your own four walls. If there is a fire in your home or there is water damage, the copy outside the home is not affected.

The most common storage medium for a backup is an external hard drive, but DVDs, CDs or USB sticks are also popular. No matter which medium you prefer, pay attention to quality. When it comes to data backup, one should not save money, but choose branded products that have already proven themselves. Free tools and experimental technology are definitely not recommended.

Also make sure that the backup carriers are not from the same manufacturer. If there are technical problems with a product or it breaks due to incorrect storage, the second backup still remains.

Ideally, an encrypted version of a backup is also regularly backed up in a cloud storage. Thanks to the diverse possibilities of the providers, the storage costs are also manageably low. However, due to data protection, no non-European storage locations should be used. The encryption of the data reliably protects against access by third parties. In order to protect against involuntary encryption by Trojans, the backup cloud should not be permanently connected to the system, but should always be connected via SFTP or another service as part of the backup.

2. Check data backup regularly

After making a backup, you should make sure that everything worked. It is therefore important to check whether the data has actually been transferred to the storage medium. You should also check the legibility of your data. If you want to be completely sure, carry out a check regularly.

3. State of the art backup

The choice of storage medium for a backup is crucial. It is not always important to use the latest technology, but it should not be outdated either. It is best to replace hard drives, DVDs and so on regularly. There are two reasons:

• Some storage media break after a while. Blank DVDs, for example, have a shelf life of up to 30 years. Provided they are kept in perfect conditions. This was the result of a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the USA.

• Technology is constantly evolving and obsolete devices are gladly sorted out as quickly as possible. This means that a state-of-the-art storage medium may not be up to date in ten years. The data can then still be read out, but the devices required for this should no longer be available. This case is not black painting. Nowadays it is already difficult to read a 5.25-inch diskette because there are hardly any drives left.

4. RAID does not replace data backup

A RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) is a multi-disk system, i.e. an arrangement of independent hard disks that are connected to each other. The stored data is distributed in the most common RAID 5 on different hard drives, with a RAID 1 directly mirrored. In this way, a failure of mostly one hard disk is possible. Nevertheless, data loss can occur if:

• data was incorrectly written from the start,

• There is a virus on one of the hard drives

Software errors occur,

• data is accidentally erased as recovery can be difficult

• Several hard drives fail simultaneously or in succession.

The RAID system does not really represent a backup. The multi-disk system only protects against hardware errors. Defective hard drives can be replaced without data being lost. It is important that you take error messages in the form of flashing lights or warning tones immediately. The affected hard disk must be replaced promptly. Works concentrated during the exchange so that no plates are exchanged. This can lead to the total loss of all data.

5. Never back up to the same location

If you lose your data, you can restore it using your backup. You should not use the old location for this. Ideally, you should back up the data on another medium and check whether it is correct and the time stamp is correct. The backup can then be restored to the original storage medium. If you don’t, and the data backup was faulty or incomplete, data recovery can be extremely complicated or even completely impossible. Once you have done that, you should make a new backup.

Back up data responsibly

In today’s digital world, IT security should be given high priority. This also includes correct data backup. In companies, this responsibility lies at the level of the managing director. In addition to data backup itself, employee training is also very important. Who needs to do what in an emergency, who needs to be notified when data is lost? These are questions that must be clarified before an emergency occurs. Experiments and cost-cutting measures are out of place in data backup.

For further reading: The 3-2-1 backup rule: The right backup strategy against data loss

Jan Bindig is managing director of Datarecovery and specializes in IT forensics and data recovery.

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