The Crucial Role of Backups in Protecting Your Business from Cyber Attacks

 - AZCOMP Technologies

Someone once said, “Backups are like insurance – you hope you never need them, but you’re glad you have them when you do.”

But do you really need a backup for your business?

Consider this – how bad would it hurt your business if you lost any amount of data (a little or all of it)? What if you and all your employees lost all emails? What if you lost all your financial records? What if you lost all your client history, including service records and invoice amounts? How bad would that hurt your business?

Wouldn’t you prefer the security of having a backup rather than hoping you never need one? The answer should be clear.

There are a lot of different ways that a business can lose data: employee mistakes, employee sabotage, natural disasters, computer or software failure, and of course there is cybercrime too, like ransomware. These are just a few ways that you can potentially lose valuable business data.

In the first quarter of 2024, there was an average of 1,308 cyber attacks per organization, marking a 28% increase from the last quarter of 2023.

This increase highlights the growing risk of cyber threats to your business, with significant potential for data loss and disruption.

In our article, “15 Ways to Protect Your Business from Cyber Attack,” we discuss several strategies for ensuring watertight security, with backups being number 14, which is what we will discuss in today’s article.

A robust backup strategy is crucial for protecting your business’s valuable data and ensuring business continuity. A robust backup strategy can also be a failsafe in a ransomware incident.

 

Understanding the Risks of Data Loss

Data is the lifeblood of modern businesses, and losing or compromising critical data can have devastating consequences. Financial losses, operational disruptions, and reputational damage are just a few potential impacts.

Imagine what a single cyber incident could do to your brand’s reputation. Cyber attacks, such as ransomware, can encrypt your files and hold them hostage until you pay a ransom.

Hardware failures, human errors, and natural disasters can also lead to data loss, disrupting operations and harming your business’s reputation. This is why data backups are essential.

Regularly backing up your data ensures that you have a secure copy to restore in case of any unforeseen incidents. This keeps your business running smoothly and maintains your customers’ trust.

Do You Still Need Backup With SaaS Cloud-Based Platforms?

According to the latest data from Gartner, up to 60% of business data is now stored in the cloud. But does cloud storage mean there’s no need for backups?

Many believe that data in SaaS applications like QuickBooks Online, Microsoft 365, or HubSpot is automatically safe and doesn’t need backups.

But this is a misconception that can leave your business vulnerable.

You see, while SaaS providers secure their infrastructure, they can’t prevent all data loss. Accidental deletions, software bugs, cyber-attacks, and insider threats can still compromise your data.

For example, after firing an employee on December 10, 2022, Cash App forgot to revoke the user’s access permissions. The disgruntled employee then downloaded data from the cloud for up to 8.2 million customers and could have deleted it if they wished.

Most SaaS providers use a shared responsibility model, meaning users must manage and protect their data. It’s your responsibility.

So, do you need a backup? Absolutely!

Regular backups ensure you can recover your SaaS data quickly in case of unexpected loss or breach, providing an extra layer of security and peace of mind.

The Importance of Regular Backups

Perhaps in an increasingly digitized business landscape, the most crucial backup is the one you haven’t made yet.

Backups are essentially copies of your data and systems stored securely in a separate location or on different media. Regular backups create a safety net that allows you to recover from data loss incidents quickly and with minimal disruption.

Here are some key reasons why backups are essential:

  • Data Recovery. In the event of a cyber attack, hardware failure, or any other data loss scenario, having a recent backup can help you restore your data and systems, minimizing downtime and ensuring business continuity.
  • Compliance and Regulatory Requirements. Many industries have strict regulations and compliance standards that mandate data backup and recovery procedures. Failing to comply with these requirements can result in hefty fines and legal consequences.
  • Business Continuity. Data loss can cripple your operations, leading to lost productivity, revenue, and customer trust. With reliable backups in place, you can quickly recover and resume normal business operations, minimizing the impact of any disruption.
  • Data Protection. You may have systems like multi-factor authentication (MFA) and hard-drive encryption in place. However, backups offer an essential additional layer of protection against cyber threats, such as ransomware. Even if your systems are compromised, you can restore your data from a clean backup, minimizing the impact of the attack.

Types of Backups

There are several types of backups to consider, each with its own advantages and use cases:

  • Full Backups: Also known as an “image-based backup”, a full backup is a complete copy of your data and systems, providing the most comprehensive protection but requiring more storage space and time.
  • Incremental Backups: Only the data that has changed since the last backup is copied, saving time and storage space but requiring a full backup as a starting point for restoration.
  • Differential Backups: Similar to incremental backups, but all changes since the last full backup are copied, making the restoration process slightly faster but requiring more storage space.
  • Cloud Backups: Your data is backed up to a remote, cloud-based storage service, providing offsite protection and easy access from anywhere.
  • Local Backups: Data is backed up to an on-site storage device, such as an external hard drive or network-attached storage (NAS), or a backup and disaster recovery server (BDR), offering faster restoration but potentially vulnerable to local threats like theft or natural disasters.

It is best to utilize multiple types of backups for the same data, especially if it is important or critical data. Also, with any of these types, there are important standards to consider to get these right so that they work for you the way you expect when it is time to recover data.

Best Practices for Effective Backups

Backups are often compared to insurance: expensive if you don’t have them and useless if you don’t use them properly. However, the consequences for your business can be dire if you’re caught without one.

Having a backup system is crucial, but using it correctly is equally important. An ineffective backup is as good as not having one at all.

So, to ensure your backups are reliable and effective, follow these best practices:

  • Automate the Process: Manually backing up data is prone to human error and forgetfulness. Automating the backup process ensures consistent and reliable data protection.
  • Test Backups Regularly: Periodically test your backups by performing a full restoration to ensure the data is complete and uncorrupted.
  • Store Backups Offsite: Keep at least one copy of your backups in a secure, offsite location to protect against local disasters or theft.
  • Implement Encryption: Encrypt your backups to safeguard sensitive data and comply with regulations.
  • Follow the 3-2-1 Rule: Keep three copies of your data (one primary and two backups) on two different types of media, with one copy stored offsite.
  • Backup systems should be separated from the rest of your network. If your network gets malware, then your backup system will have malware. Keep your backup system and data separated from everything else.
  • Monitor and Manage Backups: Regularly monitor your backup processes, storage capacity, and retention policies to ensure backups are running smoothly and meeting your needs.

While many businesses may overlook the importance of a comprehensive backup strategy, it can significantly reduce the risk of data loss and minimize the impact of cyber attacks on your business.

Remember, backups are not a substitute for robust cybersecurity measures like a virtual private network (VPN) and security awareness training but rather a critical layer of defense in your overall security strategy.

Secure Your Business with AZCOMP’s Expert Backup and Disaster Recovery Solutions

We understand the critical importance of protecting your business from cyber threats. Our team of experts is dedicated to helping you implement a robust backup and disaster recovery solution tailored to your specific needs.

We offer a comprehensive range of services, from automated backups to cloud-based storage and offsite replication, ensuring your data remains secure and recoverable in the event of a cyber attack or any other disaster.

Don’t leave your business vulnerable. Contact AZCOMP today for a free consultation to learn more about our backup and recovery services and take the first step toward fortifying your cybersecurity defenses.

ABOUT AZCOMP TECHNOLOGIES:

AZCOMP Technologies of Mesa, AZ, is a leading provider of Managed IT Services, cybersecurity, and technology solutions for businesses. AZCOMP’s purpose is to unleash phenomenal experiences through innovative tech solutions. This means that we help businesses achieve top-notch technology results while delivering phenomenal service.

AZCOMP Technologies has provided business technology solutions and cybersecurity services since 2000. AZCOMP offers full-service managed IT services in Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert, Apache Junction, Queen Creek, San Tan Valley, Gold Canyon, and the entire state of Arizona. We also provide limited IT services to businesses across the US! Request your IT consultation today!

author avatar
Byron Adams
Byron has spent nearly two decades helping thousands of small businesses resolve technology issues, design technology solutions, improve technology security, plan and budget for technology projects, and improve business productivity through technology. As the Technology Director at AZCOMP Technologies, he leads a team that provides Managed IT Services our clients. Our goal is to "deliver phenomenal" to our clients - AZCOMP's first core value. By outsourcing their IT needs to AZCOMP, Byron serves our clients as their CTO. Byron helps our clients get their time back, allowing them to focus on their business and what they do best. In addition, they enjoy more predictable technology costs, increased employee productivity, and improved cyber-security posture.

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