Reading this week about another case of ransomware bringing a hospital to its knees in LA (ref http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2499332,00.asp) got me thinking about writing a quick piece on the long established but still golden rule of backup, the 3-2-1 rule. What’s the 3-2-1 rule you may ask? Well let me explain..
In summary the 3-2-1 rule is:
- Have at least 3 copies on your data
- On at least 2 different media
- With 1 of those being offsite
Sounds simple yes but many clients I have met with and talked to over the years are simply not following this principle. Some are just too relaxed about the protection of their data and are wide open to a disaster wiping it out. Many times I have seen a server in a corner with a backup drive of some form or other plugged in, this is a good starting point and can certainly come to the rescue if some data is lost, deleted etc from the server (assuming its working, you do check that regularly yes? Remember it’s not a backup unless you know you can restore it!).
However say for example the server got fried by a power surge and in the same surge the backup disk connected to it also was damaged? How do you recover from there? Or a much more likely but equally devastating foe your data being encrypted with ransomware? (More below).
If you are following the 3-2-1 rule you will be fine.
3 copies of your data – means the original and at least 2 backups.
2 different media – so your main data is located on hard disks in your server (or possibly PC), having a backup of this to an external hard disk or perhaps a NAS device (ideally separate from the main data) covers you for 2 different media.
1 being offsite – this is key to recover and keep your business afloat in the event of a disaster such as fire or flood. Having 10 backups but all in the same building is no good if the building burns down!
There are many ways of doing offsite backups such as keeping backup disks offsite, replicating data to a second office if you have one or perhaps uploading mission critical data to a cloud provider such as Amazon, Microsofts Azure or an online backup provider such as Keepitsafe.
A new concern for data protection is the rise of ransomware which encrypts your data, both local and on your sever and in some cases your backup data if attached to the same systems, the only way to possibly get this back is pay a ransom to the bad guys and hope they will provide a decryption key. That’s what the above mentioned hospital had to do (http://fortune.com/2016/02/18/hollywood-hospital-hackers-computer-system/). Having an offsite copy can save your business in the event of this happening.
Protecting your data and business requires a multi-layer approach to include strong access controls, elevated privileges to install application, regular patching of systems and crucially end user education but that is a whole other article. As a basis though remember your 3-2-1!
If you want to chat about how we can advise on any of the above:
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