4 Common Pitfalls When Creating a Corporate Backup Policy | Secure Cloud Backup Software | Nordic Backup

Backups are essential for disaster recovery, but when they are poorly executed, it could mean the critical downfall of your disaster recovery plan. It’s not enough to simply create a backup, store it somewhere, and then expect the disaster recovery plan to work out when backups must be used to restore data. Before determining a backup plan, don’t fall for the common pitfalls made by IT staff unfamiliar with the way backups should be organized and managed.

Using USB for Backups

Although USB drives aren’t used for full backups, they are often used to quickly transfer files from one location to another. Using a USB is considered faster and more convenient when moving critical sensitive files, but the downside is that a USB is not a secure method of storing files. As a matter of fact, it’s safer to transfer critical files over the internet using encryption and VPN rather than transporting data using a USB drive.

If you absolutely need to use a USB drive, the first requirement is that it should be an encrypted drive. USBs get lost, stolen or misplaced. If you lose a USB drive with critical files stored, any data is freely available to the person who finds it. With encryption, files are still protected provided strong encryption is used. USB backups should be avoided when possible, but encrypted drives eliminate human error should the drive be stolen or lost, so it’s a failsafe if you absolutely need USB file transfers.

Using Slow Recovery Mediums

Tape drives are still popular because this medium can store enormous amounts of data using only one tape. The issue with tape drives is that they are slow, and it can take hours to recover large amounts of data. While this medium is perfect for archives, disaster recovery plans need methods that quickly restore data and reduce downtime. A few hours of downtime waiting for data to recover can mean thousands of dollars lost for the organization, so it’s standard to use other types of medium.

Cloud backups are the alternative preference for most organizations. Network on-premise backups are also an option, but the 3-2-1 backup rule requires one backup to be stored off-site and cloud backups cover this component of the rule. DVD ROMs are also an option, but it can take several discs to hold one backup, so it’s an expensive, cumbersome option.

Forgetting to Recover Data Periodically as a Test

You can create several backups every day, week, or month, but you don’t know if the medium is corrupted or the file did not back up properly unless you recover it. The worst pitfall for a backup recovery plan is to execute it only to find that backup files are corrupted. You can reduce this risk by periodically recovering data.

For instance, a staging server can be set up with the database engine installed on it. Restore the database data to this staging server to identify if your files are intact. This process will tell you if your backups are not executing properly or your medium is corrupted. The number of times you should restore data as a test depends on the frequency of your backups and their location. If you back up to a network drive, you should ensure that the drive isn’t damaged and creating corrupted backup files much more often than testing files stored on a trusted could provider location.

Not Following the 3-2-1 Rule

The 3-2-1 rule defines where backup files should be stored. The 3-2-1 rule is the following:

  • 3 backups should be created.
  • 2 of these backup files should be stored on individual, different mediums.
  • 1 backup should be stored off-site.
Three backups add data redundancy to your disaster recovery plan. Should one backup fail, you still have two others to rely on. If you store all backups on the same medium and this one medium fails, all backups are rendered unusable. This is why the second rule is important. With two individual backups stored on different mediums, should one of them fail you still have the other medium’s backup. Finally, by storing backups off-site, you ensure that you still can recover data should a natural disaster happen on-premise such as a fire or flood.Avoiding Pitfalls Will Eliminate Risk of Critical Data Loss

Mistakes with backups can be a critical failure for any organization. The first step is to follow the 3-2-1 rule, but it’s also important to incorporate cybersecurity as well. Some administrators block USB ports on local machines to stop backups on USBs. If blocking ports isn’t feasible, then USB drives should always be encrypted.

When creating a disaster recovery plan, use the right storage medium for the quickest recovery transfer. You can still use tape drives for archives as they aren’t usually necessary unless you need to perform forensics on old data. Finally, always remember to periodically test your backups to ensure they aren’t corrupted.

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