Why Effective Data Backup Is Essential to Cybersecurity

Backup and cybersecurity go hand in hand. Regular backups are the last defense against downtime if data is corrupted in a cyberattack. In many organizations, however, backup systems and processes simply aren’t up to the task.

Effective Data Backup

One concern is the security of backups themselves. Most ransomware attacks look for network-connected backups and encrypt or delete the data to prevent recovery. Legacy backup solutions also access shared storage resources using open protocols. This elevated access makes it easier for attackers to move laterally through the IT environment to steal or manipulate data.

Furthermore, few organizations are aware of all the data in their environment. This “shadow data” often includes highly sensitive information, but it’s not secured or backed up. Backup is viewed as a technology rather than a data management strategy.


Addressing Backup Security

Backup systems must be secured like any other component of the IT environment. However, a recent study found that enterprise storage backup devices have an average of 14 vulnerabilities. According to the State of Storage and Backup Secure Report 2023 from Continuity Software, insecure network settings are the most common risk. Organizations also fail to patch or upgrade their backup systems when Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) are identified.

Excess rights are another major problem — users have unrestricted access to storage devices and data and user credentials aren’t properly managed and authenticated. Inadequate logging and auditing make it easier for attackers to hide their activities and harder for security tools to detect malicious behavior.

To address these gaps, organizations should secure backup systems to prevent unauthorized access, and configure firewalls and intrusion prevention systems to protect backup servers. Security patches and updates should be applied regularly. Organizations should apply least-privilege access principles to the backup environment using role-based access controls. Strong passwords and multifactor authentication should be required.

Organizations should also adopt the 3-2-1 backup rule, maintaining three copies of data using two different media types, with one copy stored offsite. This reduces the risk of data loss should one backup be compromised. Offsite or immutable backup ensures that one backup cannot be corrupted by malware.

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Improving Data Management

As organizations became better equipped to combat ransomware, attackers had to up the ante. According to BlackFog’s 2023 Annual Ransomware Report, 91 percent of ransomware attacks exfiltrate data before encrypting it. Even if the organization can recover encrypted data from backup, the attackers will threaten to expose the data. This gives them another avenue for extortion that can continue long after the original attack.

However, many IT leaders are overconfident in their ability to protect their data and focus too heavily on tools rather than processes. A recent Enterprise Strategy Group study found that 33 percent of organizations have lost data due to misclassification. Another 19 percent lost data because they didn’t know it existed.

To reduce the risk, organizations need to discover all the data in their environment, so they know what to secure and back up. Security profiles should be defined for each data type to ensure that critical data is protected and compliant with regulatory requirements. Personally identifiable information should have the most protection, regardless of where it is stored.


Secure Your Data Today with GDS Backup Solutions

Many organizations struggle to manage their backup environment. That’s why GDS offers enterprise-class backup and replication that’s fully managed by our experts. Our Geodiverse Secure Backup solution combines local backup with replication to a hosted cloud repository. End-to-end encryption ensures the security and integrity of the data.

Before implementing the solution, we assess your environment to gain an understanding of all the data to be backed up. We monitor the solution in our Network Operations Center and automatically verify every backup. Let us help enhance your backup processes to reduce the risk of downtime and data loss.




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