Backup and Recovery…The types you need to know about

What is Back-up and Recovery?

A good back up is crucial in a business environment, a back-up strategy is the most effective and efficient way to protect your vital data. It provides a safeguard against unexpected data loss and application errors; should you lose your original data, you can use the backup to make it available again.

With the rise in cybercrime and malicious viruses and malware plus, the potential of accidental data loss, backing up and storing your data has never been more important. A company should always have a disaster recovery plan to deal with potential disasters, a plan to ensure the continuation of regular functions. By backing-up the effects of a disaster will be minimised and the organisation will be able to either maintain or quickly resume mission-critical functions.

The Different Types of Data Back-ups

Full backup

It is a method of backup where all the files and folders selected will be backed up. When consequent backups are ran, the integrated list of files and will all be backed up. The advantage is data restores are fast and easy to manage as the full list of files and folders are in one backup set. It is also easy to maintain and can be restore in various forms.

However, backups can take some time as each file is backed up repeatedly each time it is ran which can consume a considerable amount of network resources. This method absorbs the most storage capacity compared to incremental and differential backups. The exact same files are stored repeatedly which results in inefficient use of storage.

Mirror Backup

As the name states a mirror of the source being backed up. With this backup a file in the source is deleted and that file is eventually deleted in the mirror backup. This technique is clean and ensures the backup does not contain old and out-of-date files. But, there is a chance that files in the source are deleted accidentally, by distribution or through a virus.

Incremental backup

This is when once the initial full backup is completed consecutive incremental backups runs – it will just save the data that has been changed since the last backup, making it much faster backup than a full backup. The incremental technique is quicker and consumes less network resources. It also provides adequate use of storage space as files are not duplicated unlike the full backup method but, restores can be slower and more complicated.

Cloud Backup –

This is also known as Online Backup and Remote Backup – it is when data is backed up to a service or storage facility connected over the Internet. A form of offsite backup so, if anything happens to the premise like a fire or a natural disaster, the data is safe in a different location. The data is also replicated across different storage devices, usually serviced by multiple internet connections so the system is not at the point of failure and it provides easy backup accessibility with an internet connection. If the service is provided by a good commercial data center, the data will be managed and protected. The downside is it can be more expensive than local backups and the backup and restore times can be dependant on the availability of network bandwidth. Also depending on the service provider the owner of the data may not always be in full control of your files i.e. determine which datacenter the data is stored in or there may be security risks involved such as other people viewing your files especially if it’s not encrypted.

Offsite Backup

This is any backup where the backup storage medium is kept at a different geographic location from the origin is known as an offsite backup. For example, an administrator storing the data onto a tape drive and then take it to another location. Cloud backup is also a form of Offsite backup. It gives a company a peace of mind because if a disaster was to strike at the office like theft, fire, flood, earthquakes, hurricanes and more, there is a backup offsite to recover from. However, it may cost more because usually rotation between several storage devices is required. Another disadvantage is storage devices are not always reliable and often needs to be replaced because the more frequent handling of storage devices, the risk of damaging the delicate hard disk is greater.

For more information on the different types of backup and a discussion of our services please feel free to call us on 0845 603 5552.

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Anti-Virus – Do we still need it or is it doomed?

With the advancements in technology the threat landscape is evolving too.

Malicious software is becoming harder to detect and remove – it is also starting to affect a wider range of devices because of the ‘Internet of Things’. There has been some cases that advance malicious software can even bypass the anti-virus software by changing its code!

In some ways there is truth behind what Brian Dye, senior vice president of Symantec famously said a few months ago ‘Antivirus is dead’ and it is ‘doomed to failure’ because Anti-Virus relies on a signature database to block out malicious behaviours so, if a particular piece of malicious code has never been seen before – you will probably be a victim to it.

However AV is not completely doomed as Eugene Kaspersky quite rightly said, it is still ‘very much alive and kicking’ because as threats evolved so has the traditional AV. It is about choosing a product that has a database that is continuously updated and have a good feature set.

Many vendors are now reinventing AV and changing it to ‘Endpoint Security’ which offers a wider range of features from your standard things like Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware and Anti-Malware but, include features like application control, mobile device security, encryption and rule-based system behaviour blocking.

However security has become more complex and just because AV or ‘Endpoint Security’ has more features, we cannot just relying on it to be the sole system defences, it is not viable anymore. It will not provide an adequate level of protection for a modern day complex network.

Networks have developed into complex environments with multiple layers and a range of devices connected so, a layered approach to network security is key because it helps protect the different level within the infrastructure.

AV should just be seen as the first line of defence only, its aim is to protect users from things like spam emails, malicious attachments and websites. Occasionally some will get through but this approach is more secure and safer. Always keep in mind there is no 100% defence against the malicious cyber-attacks because the variables are always changing. Continuously network monitoring is also key to catching any abnormal behaviour.

For more information on network security please feel free to contact us on 0845 603 5552 or info@netshield.eu

Netshield Anti-Virus service – powered by BitDefender

Anti-Virus software is a necessary evil – it can take valuable time and energy to deploy, update and manage and they are not all the same! Netshield Anti-Virus is a comprehensive solution that acts as your first line of defence against malicious software.

Check out the video below for a quick summary…

Information Security isn’t just a Technology issue but, a Business one..

As the lines between work and play blurs due to the advances of technology, it becomes more apparent that ‘Information Security’ within the workplace is not just the IT department’s issue.

Information or data is a business enabler, it enables operations and productivity so, the security of it should be viewed as essential and promoted throughout the company – but, in most cases it is not.

Is this because we instinctively protect what we can see in front of us like buildings, personnel, hardware, the tangible assets but, we neglect the intangibles such as information because we struggle to see the physical value of it? Or is it the general attitude towards data security, the idea that we just need to do enough to meet regulations and compliance standards?

IT Security should be seen as a task to minimise risk for an organisation

This risk management is not just limited to the IT department or within the office because let’s face it, many of us do work a little when we get home even if its just checking our emails.

‘As many as 49% of individuals would use their personal device for work, found in a recent Norton Report’.

Employees use of unauthorised personal mobile devices can be a threat because it is an unknown object on the IT network. For example, if a user was to save business data onto an unauthorised device and then it was infected by malware, the data could end up in the wrong hands!

However, it is not about the IT department forbidding personal devices – if devices are approved then it is safe to have on the network. It’s all about having policies in place and training employees on how to access business data securely. The training should not be limited to the use of mobile devices but, general IT security practices i.e. always encrypt email containing sensitive data or never write login credentials on a piece of paper.

It is also important to ensure staff are aware of ‘Social Engineering’ because no matter how protected an IT Network is, there is always the possibility of external threats getting in, like CryptoWall which tricks users into opening infected attachments, exploit security gaps in Sliverlight, Flash and Java then, similar to CryptoLocker it will encrypt your files and demand a ransom.

Regular IT network assessments are recommended – not only will it help protect and minimise potential security risks, it can also be an opportunity to assess the efficiency levels of the network.

There will always be a possibility of a breach in security for every company, it could be due to a cyber attack, human error, social engineering etc but,if risk management is a common goal amongst every employee not just the IT department, it can help manage and minimise security risks in the long run.

To find out more about data protection or IT network security you can contact our consultants on 0845 603 5552 or drop us an email on info@netshield.co.uk