All about good backups

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Digital Trust Center

As an organisation, you are often dependent on IT systems for critical business processes and for storing data. When these business processes are disrupted or important data is lost, this can have major consequences for an organisation. You may think it won't happen to you, but one in four SMEs will experience a cyberattack such as ransomware or phishing.

You cannot completely avoid these situations. However, you can limit damage as much as possible. How? By making good backups of your company data. A good backup is your safety net if, for whatever reason, you can no longer access your files. It can sometimes even be your last resort.

What is a backup?

A backup is a copy of the original data stored on a device. If something happens to the original, you can restore it by means of the backup. The cloud plays an increasingly important role in this because it gives the option of saving the copy in a different location.
There are 2 types of backups: a file copy and a system image. A file copy only copies your files. A system image is an exact copy of your computer's entire hard drive. When something goes wrong, this copy can be consulted to restore files, settings, and programs. The safest option is therefore to make a system image copy regularly, preferably daily.

What risks do you reduce with a backup?

Cyber problems can strike in many ways:

Malware and Ransomware

Viruses and malware can cause files to be modified or deleted. They can also stop complete servers or computers from working. Ransomware in particular has been in the news a lot in recent years and ensures that files are encrypted. Ransomware is malicious software that extorts a victim after their digital system or the files on it are locked with a code. The attacker offers the code in exchange for a large amount of money, after which the victim can access their files again. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees this access will actually be granted. In this case, a backup is often the only solution to regaining access to your data and systems without paying a ransom.

Hardware failures

Hardware such as laptops, servers, or services from cloud suppliers on which your files and applications run can experience an unexpected failure on various layers, causing data loss. Think of a hard disk that breaks down. Restoring from a system image copy is then the only solution. This gives you access to the applications. Just restoring the file copies is not enough.

Fire

When a fire occurs in a commercial building, this can also affect IT equipment. Although many organisations move their data to a cloud environment, there is often still a lot of data stored in the office. Our advice is to store the backup in 2 locations: physically and digitally, for example in the cloud.

Human error

When an employee accidentally deletes files, it may not always be immediately apparent. Sometimes this is not noticed until months later. The so-called ‘retention’, for which you determine how far back a backup can go in history, is important in this situation.

Make a good backup in 3 steps

Periodically copying some files to an external hard drive is not enough. Do you really want to do it right and limit the damage in the event of a cyber incident or cyber-attack? Then follow these 3 steps:

1. Back up daily

The more often you make the backup, the better. With a daily backup you keep track of your current work. So, the more often you make the backup, the less it will cost you if things go wrong.

Tip: set the frequency of your automatic backup to 'daily' (in Dutch).

2. Back up to a physical and digital location

Cyber trouble can strike in several ways. For example, a physical backup is not resistant to fire and a digital backup is not resistant to hacking. So, make your backup at different locations, physically (for example on an external hard drive, or in a fire-proof safe) and digitally.

3. Regularly test whether a backup works

You do not know if a backup can save your company until you have tested it. Therefore, periodically restore a backup that you have made and check that everything works as expected. See how to do this at: How do I test a backup? (in Dutch).

Getting started

You now know the most important things about backing up. But when you get started, you also need to think about the locations, frequency, retention, and protection of your backup. You can arrange all this in a backup strategy (in Dutch).

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact Digital Trust Center

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Digital Trust Center