Don’t store your backups in the fire safe!
We all know that regularly backing up our data is important, but we still sometimes make mistakes when it comes to implementing a safe daily backup routine. And one of the most common mistakes is keeping backup copies on-site.
If a thief should ever break into your office, they’re very likely to steal the backups in addition to your computer systems. These people don’t discriminate. They just snatch up anything that seems like it might have value, and sort out the details later.
Some companies have tried to protect themselves by locking their on-site backup copies into a fire safe. But this also has its drawbacks. In the event of a fire, you might open up this safe to find that all of your backups (especially backup tapes and DVDs) have merged with your important printed documents into a gooey brick of paper and plastic.
Fireproof does not mean heat-proof
If you’re really serious about maintaining a proper backup habit, you need to take your backup copies off-site… outside of your zip code…. and preferably even outside of your area code.
This is a lesson that we’ve been increasingly been learning thanks to tragic disasters like Hurricane Katrina or the recent disaster in Haiti. Maximizing the distance between your primary data and your backup copies will eliminate the chances of an unexpected natural disaster wiping out your business data.
You can take the backup copies off-site yourself, or you can also ship them to a secure storage facility for safekeeping. But if you chose to allow a third-party provider to haul your backups off-site for you, please make sure to encrypt your backups first.
As computer systems become more secure, hackers are increasingly relying on more basic ways of stealing sensitive information. And one of the most common techniques seems to be the theft of backup tapes. Encrypting your backup device will scramble the data and make it impossible to read.
So there you have it. If you want to maintain a proper back-up habit you must remember to:
- Take your backups far away off-site
- Make sure that your backups are properly encrypted
- Do this frequently… at least once per day
Following these tips will help ensure that your company is ready for even the most severe of data-disasters.
Of course, if this sounds like a lot of work, you also have the option of backing up online. With online backup services, the data is automatically encrypted and sent to a far-away secure storage facility for you. And it’s done for you on a scheduled basis so that you can’t forget about it.
But regardless of whether you decide to perform the backups yourself or through a third-party provider, the same basic principles apply.
And remember, YOU are ultimately the one who’s responsible for making sure that your business is ready for a disaster. That’s why you need to test your backups regularly… at least 3 or 4 times per year… to make sure they can be recovered in an emergency.
Encrypting backups, taking them off site, and testing the recovery process will ensure the safety of your most important business files for years to come… and it’s much better than simply tossing them into a fire safe at the end of the day.