Backing-Up Your Data
Five top tips from the NCSC
All businesses, regardless of size, should take regular back-ups of their important data, and make sure that these back-ups are recent and can be restored.
By doing this, your business will still be able to function following the impact of flood, fire, physical damage or theft. If you have back-ups of your data which you can quickly recover, you can’t be blackmailed by a ransomware attack (beware-of-ransomware).
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has this advice when it comes to backing up your data:
Tip 1: Identify what you need to back up:
Identify your essential data - the information that your business couldn't function without. Normally this will comprise of documents, emails, contacts, and calendars, most of which are kept in just a few common folders on your computer, phone or network.
Tip 2: Keep your backup separate from your computer
Whether it's on a USB stick, on a separate drive, or on a separate computer, access to data backups should be restricted so they are not accessible by staff and are not permanently connected (either physically or over a local network) to the device holding the original copy
Ransomware (and other malware) can often move to attached storage automatically, which means any such backup could also be infected, leaving you with no backup to recover from. For more resilience, you should consider storing your backups in a different location, so fire or theft won't result in you losing both copies. Cloud storage solutions (see Tip 3) are a cost-effective and efficient way of achieving this.
Tip 3: Consider the Cloud
Using cloud storage (where a service provider stores your data on their infrastructure) means your data is physically separate from your location. You'll also benefit from a high level of availability. Service providers can supply your organisation with data storage and web services without you needing to invest in expensive hardware up front. Most providers offer a limited amount of storage space for free, and larger storage capacity for minimal costs to small businesses.
Tip 4: Read NCSC’s cloud security advice
Not all service providers are the same, but the market is reasonably mature and most providers have good security practices built-in. By handing over significant parts of your IT services to a service provider, you'll benefit from specialist expertise that smaller organisations would perhaps struggle to justify in terms of cost. However, before contacting service providers, businesses are encouraged to read the NCSC's Cloud Security Guidance. This guidance will help you decide what to look for when evaluating their services, and what they can offer.
Tip 5: Make backing-up part of your everyday business
The majority of network or cloud storage solutions now allow you to make backups automatically. Using automated backups not only saves time, but also ensures that you have the latest version of your files should you need them.
When choosing a solution, you'll also have to consider how much data you need to back up, and how quickly you need to be able to access the data following any incident.