Cloud Backup Checklist for ensuring Secure and Effective Backups

Backups have become an absolute need for businesses as there are so many threats and uncertainties lurking around at all time. Any company that has mission critical data, needs to have a backup for it.

However, getting ‘cloud backup’ just for the sake of it is not enough. You need to make sure that it is effective. You might think that you have a solid backup setup for your system but you need to be 100% sure and this can only be done by verifying each and everything. Cloud backup and recovery solutions can be used to save your data from Disasters.

Let’s have a look at a cloud backup checklist that you need to consider while backing up your data.

  1. Are you Backing up All your Data?

When facing with data, especially a large amount of it, it is usually a challenge to make sure that each and everything is backed up. To accommodate the space, many companies do not backup little files which they think might not be important whereas this is not always the case.

You can always buy new backup storage space but you cannot re-create all this data again, so it is best to backup even the small files, such as emails, company contact, calendars and documents as they all need to be accounted for.   

  • How often to do Back up your Data?

The intervals of backups are also very important. Outdated backups won’t be as effective as recent backups as they won’t contain any of the newer version of the files. So, it is recommended to back up your data more frequently so that when recovery is needed, even the recent files would be recovered, instead of recovering from old backups and compromising on older files.

  • Are you Following the 3-2-1 Backup Rule?

With data you need to be sure that your data is being backed up and is secure, otherwise what is the point to all this. Following the 3-2-1 backup rule ensures this as it states to have three copies of data, stored in two different storage media and one of them should be off-site.

By following this rule, you can ensure that your data is always backup up and protected and is always available, whenever recovery is needed.

  • What is your RTO?

RTO is Recovery Time Objective. It basically means the time it takes for a company to recover their systems and be up and running. This time should be as little as possible or at least should meet your ‘ability to sustain downtime’ requirement.

For instance, if a company can sustain a downtime of 1 hour or 2 hours, it’s RTOs should be less than that, otherwise it will suffer downtime for a longer period of time, more than a company can handle and as a result will lead to financial and reputation loss.

A backup and disaster recovery appliance can be used to further reduce RTOs. There are many vendors who offer this solution like Nutanix, Dell, etc. but there is one vendor, StoneFly, who offers significantly less RTOs. A unique feature allows users to spin up VMs directly to the backup appliance which helps to reduce RTOs to as little as 15 minutes or less.

Conclusion

Cloud Backups are a vital part of a business and ensuring that they are safe and secure is necessary. The above stated checklist would help companies to make sure that their backups are reliable so that they can be easily used in time when actual recovery is needed and suffer as little downtime as possible.

Risks associated with Unrecoverable Data Backups

In this article, we are going to talk about the risks connected with unrecoverable data backups and how Veeam instant recovery helps nullify all of those risk.

Organizations of any size must be able to provide high availability and seamless digital experiences to their users, customers and partners.

Backup & Recovery Is Very Important

User confidence only happens through business continuity and high availability of data which is why the recoverability of critical business applications and technology is so important today. Recoverability and data testing is a huge problem that many businesses don’t even realize they have. Having said that, let’s discuss what are the risks of having data that is backed up but not recoverable.

Let’s divide these risks into three types:

  1. Operational Risks

If a company cannot recover from a system failure, it may not be able to serve its customers, causing a loss of revenue and clients’ loyalty. The risk increases by not responding in time to the needs of users like business application developers and business users, which leads to a delay of a response to key customers’ needs and wants.

  • Risk to Fall Out of Compliance

If a customer’s backups are corrupt he or she could potentially be fined or get bad press by falling out of compliance within his industry.

  • The Risk of Losing Speed & Agility

Speed and agility enables a company to continuously innovate and grow. Losing these elements can lead to a decrease in a company’s ability to successfully compete. It can also have negative impact on businesses in terms of creating exceptional user experience.

All these risks impact brand integrity. They also illustrate that organizations must reconsider their approach to data testing and recovery capabilities, aligning and matching them more closely with overall business strategy.

Lack of Testing Data Backup Can Prove to be Troublesome

Companies usually test their backups only twice or even once a year and do it manually or have to travel to pull out old tapes and test recoverability of some of the applications. This can be quite costly and time consuming.

Decision makers need to consider the following as real threat to data loss:

  • Hardware Failure
  • Human Error (about 30% to 80% of data corruptions are caused by this factor, depending on research agency)
  • Physical Security
  • Technology Change
  • Cost Efficiency
  • Ransomware

This might make them realize that they would have a complete disaster if recovery failed one day and that it is not a risk worth taking.

Data Testing & Recoverability made Easy with Veeam Appliance & Veeam Instant Recovery

Data testing and recoverability delivers real business value. Veeam backup and replication appliance contains features like Veeam instant recovery that would impact a company’s customers.

First, discover any hidden recoverability and backup testing needs. While doing this, keep in mind there are several people with very different roles on the buying community.

Most IT leaders would like to have an easy-to-use product for backup and recovery. It is not a good idea to manually test only some of the backups. There should be a more accurate testing process in place.

Many companies, after considering their current situation, business SLA, performance and stakeholders, conclude that their status quo is not safe as they thought it to be initially. They soon face the fact that their current data protection process is not sustainable and is too dangerous

The issue with recoverability is that it’s almost impossible to determine if backups are working or not, which means in case of recovery need, backups may be corrupted and useless. So it is best to be sure. Veeam backup and replication appliance with Veeam instant recovery, makes sure that recoverability is made possible whenever needed and that backups are always safe and secure.

Benefits of Recoverability with Veeam Appliance & Veeam Instant Recovery

  • Significant improvement of RTO and RPO which will save the company money
  • Grow productivity as you reduce your staff time spent on backup and recovery operations
  • Lower your risks and improve reliability

Conclusion

The threats of data loss are plenty and this is why companies should make sure that their backups are easily recoverable. Veeam backup and replication and Veeam instant recovery helps to make recoverability easy and make backups more reliable.

What makes On-Premises Backup So Reliable

Data is undoubtedly a vital part of an organization. It is safe to say that it is considered as an asset for an organization. Due to the criticality of their data, organizations follow necessary steps needed to make sure their data is secure and a very significant step is, deciding to back up their data.

It is quite simple actually, once you have decided to move to the cloud, a common thought that comes in the mind of a business owner is on-premises backup. After all, there are no servers running in the organization’s server room so why not go for on-premises backup.

Let’s discuss how an on-premises backup is considered a reliable backup solution.

Great way of utilizing vacant on-premises space

On-Premises backup is a great way to save some money by leveraging the on-premises backup data center space, you used before moving to the cloud, instead of selling it or putting that space to waste. This way you will be able to fully utilize your vacant space, without having to spend any extra money.

Hybrid Data Backup Approach

If your business or company has been in operational for quite some time, it is quite possible that you have spent a huge amount of money into your data storage hardware and software. So instead of wasting that investment, they preferably adhere a hybrid approach of combining on-premises infrastructure with cloud based infrastructure.

Legislative Requirements

If you have a large business then there must be some certain legislative requirements that you need to consider, which may require you to keep a copy of your backup data on-premises. This is another reason why on-promises backups should be considered as they can fulfill this requirement.

Backup & Disaster Recovery

A very important consideration, in the field of backup is reliability of backups in case of disasters. Having an on-premises backup solution that is directly connected to the enterprise backbone network will help greatly in faster recovery of data as compared to regular backups. Veeam backup to azure is a Good Option for effective data backups. This will enable organizations to easily recover their data, quickly, in case a disaster strikes.

To Conclude

On-Premises backup is a good option for enterprises who want to use their on-premises space and their cloud storage as well. They want a hybrid approach for their data. This way they can decide where they want to run backups and where do they want to store them. It gives large enterprises a very comprehensive approach with several options on how to handle their backup data.

Do you test your Disaster Recovery Plan before a Disaster

Disasters can strike at any time and at any place. Having a backup and disaster recovery plan not only helps greatly in securing your data and making sure it is recovered efficiently but is it also disaster proof itself? This is the question that IT managers must ask themselves and their team before actually find it out the hard way.

Understand your Data and Backup needs

A common mistake that most people do is that they don’t really comprehend their data and backup requirements. They get a plan, which is great but that plan is not as much as effective as their requirements.

For instance, a healthcare company deals with a lot of pharmaceutical data and need to keep compliance in mind. They simply adopt a disaster recovery plan without understanding the integrity of compliance and later struggle with retention issues.

An insurance company, deals with clients with all sort of data, without evaluating their data needs, it is impossible for the company to address its security loop holes and concerns.

You need to understand your data needs first and then define a retention policy for your data and backups. It may range from monthly, weekly, daily or even hourly retention of your data. Given which industry you belong to; you need to make sure it is industry compliant.

Test your Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan

This is another important thing to note. Testing your Backup and recovery appliance or cloud based backup and disaster recovery solution can help you dearly at the time of recovery.

How?

Well, imagine you are hit by a disaster. You tune to your disaster recovery plan and run recovery, just to find out that it has run into an error and the process cannot be completed. Now, how will you explain in to the men upstairs that plan failed, which they spend a lot of money on just for this sole purpose, only because you didn’t test it in time.

Make sure your backup and recovery appliance is working by conducting regular tests so that if there is an error while recovering from backups, you can jot down the reason and fix it before you actually really need it.

Minimum RTOs and RPOs

Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) both affect downtime greatly. If a company cannot sustain downtime of more than 2 hours, for example, then they need to make sure that their RTOs and RPOs are less than 2 hours. Similarly, if a company cannot handle downtime greater than 1 hour then its RTOs and RPOs should most definitely be less than 1 hour.

Ideally, a company, no matter what industry it belongs to, wants to achieve downtime as minimal as possible. StoneFly offers less than 15 minutes RTOs by directly spinning up VMs to the backup appliance. This is a unique feature, present in all the backup and disaster recovery solutions offered by StoneFly (DR365, DR365V, DR365Z).

Choose a good Cloud Disaster Recovery Vendor

With so many vendors offering DR Backup solutions, it can be a bit challenging to find the right one which suits your company best. Note down your requirements and then try to look for the options and features offered by the vendors.

Features like deduplication, delta based snapshots, encrypted backups and faster recovery times are some of the basic features which make a good disaster recovery plan and should be considered when choosing a vendor.

Conclusion

It is important to understand your data and security needs before jumping into a disaster recovery plan. This will help you make better decision when choosing a vendor. After setting up a DR Backup plan, testing your Disaster Recovery plan is just as vital as getting one. Make sure you test it regularly so that you can fix any errors before it is too late and you actually need to recover your data.

Cost Effective Disaster Recovery via Remote Replication

Disaster recovery (DR) is an integral component of any enterprise’s data protection strategy. Businesses are well aware of the fact that downtime or outage tends to be very costly therefore Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is being adapted at an exponential rate. One of the biggest factors influencing this adaptation is the cost implication. Veeam Backup and Replication Appliance is also an option for effective backup.

Before indulging into the cost aspect, let’s explore how disaster recovery solutions can be integrated into an enterprise IT environment.

Image title

Integrating Disaster Recovery solutions

There are two basic ways IT environments can incorporate Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS):

  • On-premises or offsite appliance(s).
  • Cloud Disaster Recovery.

In both types, DR uses replication technology. In both on-premises and offsite disaster recovery solutions, the IT infrastructure needs to acquire and setup physical backup and recovery appliance. These appliances tend to be very costly, especially for businesses under a tight budget.

For instance, if you are a business with mission critical data; then you know you need disaster recovery to ensure downtime prevention and business continuity. However, you also have budget limitations. You can’t dedicate most of your budget to the IT department. Then, what should you do? The only other option is to setup cloud disaster recovery services.

Cloud Disaster Recovery for Businesses with budget restrictions

Similar to on-premises or offsite disaster recovery, cloud disaster recovery uses replication as well. However, cloud based disaster recovery uses remote replication. The enterprise’s data is copied over WAN to a third party service provider’s data center. This makes the whole ordeal very cost effective for the enterprise because in this instance, they do not have to buy any appliance.

Conventionally, disaster recovery solutions are costly because the business has to bear the initial cost of purchasing a disaster recovery appliance. That’s not the only cost associated with the setup. The business also continues to bear dynamic costs like maintenance, cooling and power budgets etc.

Comparatively, cloud disaster recovery is less costly because with remote replication all of the data is moved to a third party service provider’s data center. In this setup, the cost of the data center and all the management is dealt with on the service provider’s end. This means that the business can have a way to reduce downtime, ensure business continuity and do all of it within the budget.

Image title

Data Migration

A thing to consider in this entire setup is that migrating data from the primary system to the secondary or offsite system can be time consuming and limited due to bandwidth limitations. This also applies to cloud disaster recovery solutions. In this instance, services like AWS Snowball can come in handy. Instead of using your network service provider and moving all the data via WAN, you can have an appliance sent to you. Using this appliance, you can make the initial data migration and then the later changes are replicated synchronously or asynchronously.

Even for businesses on a budget, data migration is something to bear in mind; especially when adapting cloud disaster recovery services.

The Importance of DR for Business Continuity

Business continuity has become a hot topic nowadays with companies of all sizes, big or small. This is because most of the companies need to operational round the clock, 24/7. So, they cannot afford any breaks or disruptions of any kind.

To achieve this, a company needs to be able to achieve business continuity and disaster recovery helps achieve it. Cyber-attacks are very uncertain and unpredictable and the next victim could be your company so it is best to be prepared beforehand.

Without a DR Backup, a Company is vulnerable to ransomware

Dealing with a ransomware attack is no walk in the park and without a DR backup, it becomes an impossible job to say the least. Ransomware cripples the entire system of a company, locking files and systems and denying access to mission critical data.

Imagine having to come to work one day and finding out that all your systems and files have been locked and in order to decrypt them, you need to pay a ransom for the decryption key. It is not a good feeling, let me assure you. With so many reports of ransomware attacks, one can never be too sure and the next victim could be you. In order to gain protection from it, backup and disaster recovery is a must.

Disaster Recovery for Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can come at any time and at any place. So it is best to be prepared for one as they would not wait for you. Whether it may be storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados or etc. they can be very cruel. Without any disaster recovery plan, there is no way you, as a business owner, can achieve business continuity.

You would not be able to access all your files and applications as they would not have been backed up to the cloud and if your primary site is damaged or unaccusable, there is no way to resume work remotely. You would have to wait for the disaster to clear up before you can even think about going to your office.

How can a Disaster Recovery Plan Help?

Having a good, reliable disaster recovery plan enables a company to achieve business continuity to the highest level. This way, you would be protected from ransomware and would save money as there won’t be any need to pay ransom money. When hit by a ransomware attack, you can easily recover all your files in a matter of minutes and suffer little to none downtime.

In case of natural disasters, a disaster recovery backup plan enables you to access your files remotely and continue operations as long as you have an internet connection. This way, even if your primary site is compromised, you can achieve business continuity while not suffering any downtime at all.

Conclusion

Business continuity is the man goal of a company and in order to achieve that they need to be able to suffer no downtime at all. Backup and disaster recovery helps achieve that and ensures that a company achieves business continuity to the highest level.

Phishing Attack Targets Admin Accounts of Office 365

For any hacker, admin accounts are a gold mine. This is because these accounts have elevated privileges and control over many users. Not to mention how much desperately the admins would need it back and the amount of money they would be willing to pay for them.

A similar attack has been made on admin accounts of Microsoft Office 365. The hackers targeted some of the admin accounts of office 365 in an attempt to generate profit from them.

The attackers lured the victims with Phishing Email

According to reports, the hackers delivered a phishing lure that impersonated the Microsoft Office 365 brand and convinced the victims that the email was authentic.

To make the lure even more legitimate, the hackers used multiple validated domains that did not belong to Office 365, one domain even belonged to an educational institute.

Victims, who unfortunately clicked on the link which was present in the phishing emails were then presented with a spoofed login for Microsoft Office 365 where the hackers would ask for the user’s credentials.

Why do attackers target Administrators Accounts?

There are many reasons why attackers could target admin accounts in an organization. Mainly for office 365 admin accounts, these accounts have many privileges and administrative control over all the accounts that fall under it. So, attackers can benefit from this and demand high ransom money for these accounts.

A compromised admin account is a big deal. It could allow the attacker to retrieve all the confidential emails and completely take over the account. An admin account has access to other accounts as well so the attackers could possibly compromise a series of other accounts also.

The danger does not stop here, the attackers can create new accounts within the organization and can spread the attack to other accounts in the organization and access sensitive information with that admin account.

Gain Protection against these attacks with Cloud Backups & DR

The best protection against these kinds of attacks and ransomware attacks in general is cloud backups and disaster recovery. Regularly backup your data to the cloud and in case of an attack you can easily recover from these backups. Backup to Azure can be used to back up your data.

A Disaster recovery appliance offers notifications whenever an abnormality or a breach attempt is made. This can also help greatly in protecting against these types of attacks.

Conclusion

Cyber-attacks are a menace. They can prove to be very costly for an organization, especially if they have mission critical and confidential data which they cannot afford to be leaked online. Cloud backups and DR helps greatly in protecting against these attacks and gives the organization the ability to recover from these attacks.

Without Cloud Backups; Busy cold nights and ransomware attacks predicted on hospitals

Following the recent ransomware attacks on several hospitals in the state over the past year, experts predict that they will only rise and are nowhere near the end. Apart from hospitals of course, patients are the most affected here as they are unable to check in for their schedule appointments and either have to reschedule for later or move in to another hospital. Azure cloud backup can be used for Data backups.

With no cloud disaster recovery, a ransomware attack is inevitable.

Why target Hospitals? Lack of Backup and Disaster Recovery

I’m sure you must be wondering, why target hospitals? What’s the agenda? Well to put things into perspective, hospitals are, unfortunately, easy targets.

Not everyone is willing to pay. We have seen many cases where people simply just don’t pay any ransomware because either they have backup of these files or they simply do not care for them to be worth paying ransom money for.

Hospitals on the other hand, fall prey to these attackers as most hospitals don’t have ransomware protection because no one thought that even hospital could be a victim to these, until now of course.

Easy Target without a cloud based backup solution

As mentioned earlier, not everyone pays, so these cyber-attackers want to target those institutions that are going to get more hurt due to it and hence, would be desperate enough to pay ransom immediately. Such as, in this case, hospitals.

Locking down critical, sensitive and vital operations and systems in a hospital could literally make it a matter of life and death, so hospitals are forced to act quickly and end up paying the ransom, no matter how insane of an amount is being demanded.

Without a cloud based backup, there is no way to recover from these attacks and as indecent as it may seem, cyber-attackers make a lot of money with this and hence more and more attacks are encouraged.

DR Backup has become a Necessary

A DR Backup has become a vital and important need nowadays due to these ever increasing attacks every other day. Setting up a DR Backup plan protects a company or hospital against ransomware attacks.

With so many vendors out there it has become extremely easy to look for the one which suits your requirements. For example; StoneFly offers reliable and cost efficient disaster recovery solutions.

With a DR Backup plan in place, there is no need to worry about ransomware attacks. Upon choosing the right vendor, hospitals can enjoy high level of protection through encryptions and deduplication etc. and will suffer no downtime at all which would result in continued operations even an attack strikes.

In Conclusion

Ransomware is out there and it is deadly. Hospitals, especially, need to be fully aware of this and need to get a DR Backup plan right away in order to protect themselves from these attacks and stop risking lives of patients.

Why Setting Up a DR Cloud Backup Strategy is Necessary

Let me ask you this, Is your data important to you? If no, then stop wasting your time reading this article, it’s not for you. If yes, well then, answer another thing. How important is it exactly? Is it worth saving? I’m sure it is. So, just like any other valuable thing, it is best to have insurance for it and data backup provides an insurance for your data as it keeps it secure.

It is astonishing to see that still there are many companies who do not take data backup any seriously and when something happens to it, the administration usually regrets it and wonder why they did not have a DR backup plan in the first place.

The Need for Backup

Let’s be fair to the cloud providers. They do indeed provide security to the customer’s data and take care of it through different approaches like redundancy and encryption but despite such precautions, there is still a chance of data loss through human errors, carelessness, data vandalism or ransomware, on extreme cases. This can result to permanent data loss. Now, without a proper backup strategy it is impossible to recover your data and companies are forced to start from scratch or simply give in to the problem.

Many people say that if a cloud service provider losses a company’s data, they are at fault and should be held responsible for it. That’s true but while your banging at the door of the provider and spending more money to sue them, your data is still lost and is nowhere near to the road of recovery. At the end of the day, you will be without your data and you will be the most effected, not the provider.

DR Backup Strategy; A Lifeline

Cloud storage is not the same as cloud backup and companies need to understand this. By simply relying on the cloud service provider won’t protect their data. A separate cloud backup service is needed for protection as it offers efficient protection by capturing storage snapshots at regular intervals, which can be re-mapped accordingly which allows files to be restored in any specific point it time.

Backups are made regularly through setting up backup jobs which can be set to hours, daily or weekly depending upon the requirements of a company. Cloud connect backup is efficiently used to do Data backups. This way all your data is backed up and ready to be restored whenever you may need it. There is no need to worry about threats like ransomware or natural disasters as data is stored in an off-side location, ready to be accessed and restored if needed.

Conclusion

Every company needs a DR Backup strategy in order to make sure their data always ‘survives’ a threat or a data loss. Pull together a solid cloud backup strategy and you would never have to worry about losing your data anymore, ensuring business continuity and productivity as well.

Ransomware can hit anywhere, even small businesses

With a rapid increase in ransomware, organizations can fall prey to these attacks easily. Even so, small companies and businesses are overlooking this and totally underestimate the damage that it might cost them. In a recent survey report, many small businesses owners predicted if they were hit by a cyber-attack it would not cost them more than $10,000, which they believe is far less than going for a proper backup and disaster recovery plan but little do they know, that is not the case, it’s actually a lot more than estimated amount. Azure cloud backup can be used to backup your valuable data.

Without Cloud Backups; What’s at stake?

Their data. The data is under immense risk if the company does not opt for a backup plan. Let’s say they actually do save money with the decision of not going for a backup plan, what will happen? They will save a few bucks now but when they are hit, yes it’s only a matter of when not if, they would have to pay a hefty ransom in order to gain access to their systems and data. This ransom would be a lot more than $10,000.

Other than this, they cannot grow as a business if they do not have a backup or disaster recovery plan. In order to retain customers and gain profits they have to ensure business continuity and this can only be done with a proper backup and disaster recovery plan in place.

Let’s say the company is hit by a ransomware attack, without levering a backup plan all your systems and data is locked. If there was a proper cloud backup in place, then they would have simply recovered the data in a matter of minutes by accessing it from an offsite location. This will ensure that they won’t ever pay any sort of ransom and are free from these threats for life, at least till the business is operational.

Having said this, it is also important to train employees about phishing emails and how to avoid them. Many small businesses have young recently graduated employees so it’s best to train them properly about these kinds of cyber-threats and how to avoid them.

DR against Natural Disasters

Apart from Cyber-Attacks, natural disasters also pose a viable threat for a company. Imagine being hit by a hurricane and all your systems and of course data are compromised. With a backup and disaster recovery plan businesses can always recover their data and even access it from another location even if their primary site is un accessible or usable.

To Conclude

Just like many businesses, small businesses are also as important as the others. Owners must take these cyber-threats more seriously and should opt for a backup and disaster recovery plan in order to stand a chance against them and be worry free about them. Instead of just gambling with tier data and leaving it to luck.

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started