What is modern enterprise backup?
Modern enterprise backup can be thought of as a digital “insurance policy” for an organization’s data. Just as insurance protects against physical damage or loss, a backup strategy protects against data loss due to hardware failure, human error, or malicious attacks. A modern enterprise backup strategy typically involves a combination of on-premises and cloud-based solutions, as well as a variety of backup types such as full backups, incremental backups, and snapshots. These backup solutions work together to create multiple copies of an organization’s data, stored in different locations, to ensure that there is always a reliable and easily accessible version available in case of an emergency.
One key aspect of modern enterprise backup is the use of data deduplication, which eliminates redundant data, allowing for more efficient storage utilization and faster recovery. Additionally, data is often encrypted, both at rest and in transit, to ensure that it is protected from unauthorized access. Another important element is automation, which helps make the backup process more efficient and keep it consistent and reliable. For example, using next generation backup software allows your organization to automatically detect changes and take a snapshot or incremental backup at regular intervals, without human intervention.
Next generation backup software is incredibly powerful but without a strategy, technology will fall short. A modern enterprise backup strategy must integrate with disaster recovery plans so an organization can quickly and effectively restore its operations in the event of an emergency. The strategy must include regular testing and drills of the recovery process to ensure that it is functioning as expected and to identify and fix any problems. Ultimately, insurance agencies are looking for organizations to implement a modern enterprise backup strategy that is designed to protect an organization’s most valuable asset, its data, by providing multiple layers of protection and a comprehensive approach to data recovery.
Why is backup so important?
Think of your data as the heart of your business, just like how we need a heart to survive, your business needs its data to operate. A backup strategy is like a “heart transplant” for your business. In the event of a cyber-attack, such as ransomware that “attacks the heart” of your business by encrypting or deleting your data, a backup strategy allows you to “transplant” your data to a healthy, unaffected version, and keep your business running.
However, not all backup solutions are created equal, and insurance companies know that. If you are planning on renewing your cybersecurity and ransomware insurance going forward, insurance companies want to see that you have a comprehensive backup strategy in place. This backup strategy needs to have multiple layers of protection and must be tested regularly to confirm it can be effectively used in case of an emergency.
Some examples of controls that insurers want to see in place include:
- Regularly testing your backups to ensure they can be successfully restored;
- Having backups stored in multiple locations, both on-premises and in the cloud;
- Data encryption, both at rest and in transit;
- Implementing role-based access controls and monitoring for potential malicious activity;
- Having a Disaster Recovery plan that includes backups as part of the plan; and,
- Setting backups to be immutable for a set period of time, such as 30 days, so that even if an attacker gains access, the backups can’t be deleted or altered.
Immutability refers to the ability to protect backups from being altered or deleted by unauthorized users. This ensures that in case of a cyber-attack, the backed-up data is always in a known and secure state, making it easier to restore. By implementing immutability, it gives an added level of protection and assurance that the data can be restored to a known and secure state.
Why does my cyber insurance provider want backups encrypted?
When it comes to protecting your business data, encryption for backups is like adding a padlock to your important information. It acts as a barrier, making it difficult for anyone who shouldn’t have access, to access the information.
Even if the data being backed up is already encrypted, it is still beneficial to encrypt the backups as it provides an added layer of security. This is particularly important when the backups are being stored remotely or being transferred over a network. In the context of backups, data encryption can be more important than disk encryption because it encrypts only the data being backed up, rather than the entire storage device, which includes the operating system, applications and all the other data in it.
Data encryption allows for selective encryption of the backup data, which ensures that only the important and sensitive data are encrypted. This can be more efficient in terms of resources, for example, encryption/decryption process and storage space. Additionally, data encryption can also be performed on an incremental basis, which means that only the new or changed data gets encrypted, which can save time and resources.
Moreover, data encryption ensures that the backups remain usable and can be easily restored if needed, regardless of the location where the backups are stored. This is because the encryption is applied only to the data, leaving the operating system and the backup software intact. In case of an emergency, the backups can be restored quickly, without the need to decrypt the entire storage device.
Data encryption is more suitable for backups, as it allows selective encryption of sensitive data and can be performed on an incremental basis, making the restore process efficient and faster. Disk encryption, although it also provides security, is more suitable for scenarios where the entire storage device needs to be protected and doesn’t require regular restore process like in backups scenarios. Choosing a strong encryption method, such as industry-standard options, and keeping the encryption keys safe and secure is important. Additionally, using a reputable third-party provider for key management is recommended, so that in the event the padlock falls into the wrong hands, it can be quickly changed, keeping the data secure.
Why is monitoring and testing your backup required by your insurance provider?
Monitoring and testing your backups is like having a fire drill for your data. It’s essential to make sure you have a way out in case of an emergency, just like knowing where the exits are in a building. In the digital world, an emergency could be a cyber-attack such as a ransomware, that makes your data unavailable or lost. A good backup test plan is like a map for your digital escape route, it should consist of:
- Regular testing: Just like how fire drills are repeated to make sure everyone knows what to do, testing your backups regularly will ensure that your data can be recovered when needed.
- Testing different scenarios: This is similar to testing different escape routes. Testing different scenarios will help identify problems that may occur and ensure that all data can be recovered when needed.
- Test restore speed: Just like how fast you need to get out of a burning building, testing the speed of the restore process will ensure that the backups can be restored in a timely manner.
- Test different restore locations: Similar to testing different exits, testing restores to different locations, such as local hard drive, network, and cloud, can ensure that the data can be recovered regardless of the location where the backups are stored.
- Testing with different restore software: Like using different escape tools, using different software to restore the backups can ensure that the data can be recovered in different scenarios, and with different equipment.
- Test granularity: Testing different levels of granularity, such as restoring individual files or an entire system, is like testing different levels of evacuation to ensure that all data can be recovered when needed.
- Documenting: Just like how fire department document their drills, documenting the test results and keeping a record of the testing can be useful for identifying problems that may occur in the future, and to assist in troubleshooting them accordingly.
Testing your backups is more than just a check the box item for your insurance, it is an important step to make sure that your data is safe and can be recovered when needed. Just like how a fire drill gives you peace of mind that you will be safe in case of an emergency, monitoring and testing your backups gives you the peace of mind that your data is safe and can be recovered when needed, minimizing the impact on the business operations.
What are the best backup solutions out there?
There are several good backup solutions available on the market and we, together with our security consultant colleagues at BD Emerson, can assist you in finding the solution that best fits your business.
Imagine a world where your business never has to face the devastating consequences of data loss. A world where your data is always safe and can be quickly restored if something goes wrong. This is not a fantasy, it’s a reality that modern enterprise backup solutions can provide. With features like instant recovery, policy-based automation, and multi-cloud data management, businesses can ensure that their data is protected and can be recovered in case of cyber-attacks, natural disasters, or any other type of data loss. With the growing number of cyber threats like ransomware and the increasing amount of data that needs to be protected, modern enterprise backup solutions should be a top priority on your 2023 to-do list. Don’t wait for disaster to strike, act today and secure your business against data loss.
BD Emerson Legal Group is a law firm specializing in business, privacy, and cybersecurity law. With practitioners admitted in California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, BD Emerson Legal Group can help you and your business with a variety of legal needs. For more information, please contact Julie Bishop at Julie@bdemersonlaw.com or Drew Danner at Drew@bdemersonlaw.com.
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