You Need a Backup Strategy, Here’s Where to Start

Don’t make the mistake of thinking ransomware attacks are only a concern for everyone else. No matter how much we talk about it or how often it is in the news, business owners continue to ignore the threat as if they were somehow immune. Consider this your wakeup call: You are not immune. Not only are you in danger, you are endangering all of your clients and contacts. If you are a medical professional, you are endangering your patients. If you are a school, you are endangering your students. If you are a church, you are endangering your parishioners. If you are not actively securing your system, you are complicit in the fallout. 

It is not just ransomware that poses a threat. Everyday life poses a threat to your data. You sit down on a park bench and your super expensive smartphone slides out of your pocket and shatters into a thousand pieces (not that I’m bitter). What is your plan of action? What steps do you have in place to get your life back up and running after some type of disaster? That backup drive churning away in the living room will do you no good if the house burns down. If you don’t have a sufficient backup strategy, here’s where to start:

Hard Copies of Analog Documents

As surprising as this might be, not all important data is digital. There are many pieces of data that are analog only. It comes in the dead-tree category of files. Do you even know where to buy a filing cabinet and how much one would be? The simple fact is that we need safe places to keep hard copies, and backup copies of important documents:

Do you know how to replace your birth certificate if you needed to do so? There is a good chance most people wouldn’t know where to start. Is it a city, state, or county record? Do you have to get it from the hospital where you were born? Is there a way to order one online? How much does it cost and how long will it take? There are answers to these questions. It is surprisingly easy to get a replacement for all of your important documentation. The best course of action is to have a spare kept in a safe place so that when you absolutely have to have it, you will be able to put your hands on a copy. When it comes to backing up your data, don’t forget the analog data.

Backup Hardware

While it is not enough on its own, no backup plan is complete without some type of backup appliance. Such appliances usually come in the form of a large hard drive array that does automatic backups for all the devices connected to it. That connection could be over a physical cable or a wireless source. 

For your business, you probably want a device that is hard wired as it will be harder to hack than a wireless network. You will also want to have a secondary offsite backup solution. The offsite solution will likely cost a little more as it will be on a subscription basis. But it protects against damage caused by natural and unnatural disasters on premises. As security specialists are fond of saying, if you have two backups, you only have one. And if you only have one backup, you have none.

Stop Backing up Garbage

Digital garbage is just as bad for the environment as analog garbage. That is because the more you backup, the more servers are needed, and the more energy is used. If you find yourself running out of storage in iCloud and other services, it is likely because much of that storage is wasted on things that Don’t Matter. Even consumers need cloud storage. If your allotment is junked up with things you don’t need to keep, you will not have room left for things you do need to keep. Go through your backup solution and delete outdated backups. Delete large media items you don’t use. Clear some space so there is room for the important stuff.

One day, there might even be backups of us. Till then, our backup strategy needs to include physical copies of important documents, backup appliances, and clearing obsolete items that shouldn’t be backed up any longer.