A lot of businesses understand the importance of backups and usually their top priority to protect against viruses, disasters and file deletions.
Yet a lot of businesses still do not realise what they are protected against..or more so NOT protected against.
Going into potential SMB clients, I had been advised that they already have a backup solution, however, after investigating a bit further, it turns out they are not as protected as they first thought. It isn’t usually very long before I get a call or E-mail asking me what they can do to fix it.
With me highlighting some of the misconceptions and misunderstandings below, you can think about your own backups and decide whether you are aware of the risks and whether your “backup” is suitable.
This post is aimed at file/folder backups and doesn’t cover E-mail, Servers/Services or Business continuity, which deserve to be looked at in detail on their own!
Here are some of the common backup misconceptions I have come across with SMB’s so far.
BACKUP MISTAKE #1 – DROPBOX/GOOGLE DRIVE/ONEDRIVE/SHAREPOINT
“We backup all of our files on DropBox, Google Drive and OneDrive”
Why is this a mistake?
More of a misconception or misunderstanding, instead of a backup, it is actually more like “redundant storage”
What I mean by this is, yes, your device can break and the files that are stored “in the cloud” are unaffected by this, the files remain available for use from any other PC and you only need to get a new PC to get the files again.
Why it is not a backup
The solutions work by syncing storage in the cloud with the files on your PC, across multiple PC’s/devices that are also synchronised. If you make a change or create a new file on 1 device, it will synchronise to the main server and then update the changes across all other devices. They do not typically store “previous versions” of the same file, it is 1 copy and that is it.
Ever edited a file and accidentally saved over the version you wanted to keep or even deleted it?
Or worked on a file and at some point it becomes corrupted and unusable?
The benefit is also the problem, any file changes will instantly be synchronised across all of your devices, replacing all of the good working copies of the files and leaving you unable to restore to a previous version.
What about Ransomware?
Exact same thing, ransomware works by copying your files and replacing them with encrypted copies that you cannot access and the original files are deleted. If 1 PC that is linked to your DropBox or Google Drive is infected, it will make changes to the files, those file changes will now appear across all of your devices.
BACKUP MISTAKE #2 – MANUALLY TAKING A COPY OF FILES
Taking a manual copy of all files/folders and storing this on another storage drive, such as a NAS or External Hard Drive.
Why is this a mistake?
Several reasons, you need to make sure you are backing up everything that your employees use and save and that you have sufficient access to access all the files.
The backups themselves are usually very limited in the dates/times that you can restore a file from, most often, the backups are taken once a day and only keep 1 version of the file.
If your data is stored in an application/database, chances are this is being missed from your backup.
If a virus were to infect a computer or the server, it usually infects anything that is attached to the computer, including hard drives. A lot of people keep the hard drive connected to the computer/server, that would be your “backup” gone.
When backing up manually, you are therefore relying on people remembering to back up the files. Depending when a restore is needed and the time backups are done, you are very limited to what files you restore.
If files were deleted prior to the backup and then a backup is run with the file already deleted, it could actually delete the file from its own backup as it no longer exists on the source.
BACKUP MISTAKE #3 – NO MONITORING
Having an actual backup solution and/or system in place but NOT monitoring/maintaining the backups
Why is this a mistake?
Quite obvious….If it hasn’t been running for a few days or even months, you will not know about it until it is too late.
It’s all very good having a backup system in place, but unless you have some sort of status and/or monitor/alerts for the jobs, then how do you know if you have last night’s backup or not?
Similarly, you also need someone to actively monitor the alerts. It’s not very good if you setup alerts to an individual, for that individual to then automatically delete, or move those alerts elsewhere and not check on them.
How to protect?
- Understand what data you want backing up and how frequently.
- Understand where that data is stored
- What should the backups protect against? virus, accidental or malicious deletion, devices failing, disaster?
- Look into the different technologies and solutions out there, understand how they work and what different situations they protect you from.
If you need any help or advice, then contact us and we will be happy to explain some of the pitfalls and different solutions available in more detail.
We offer several solutions to protect our clients against their specific business needs as well as backing up and monitoring the backups for them.