In the age of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure, local data backups are still an essential element of an effective security program for many organizations. A significant percentage of security breaches can be attributed to the mishandling of local data backups.
The process of replicating sensitive data isn’t the only thing that is needed to keep your organization secure. What is done with the data backups after the fact can introduce an entirely different set of risks.
Here are 5 ways to help secure your local data backups:
- Set-up your security policies to include local backup related systems within their scope. Almost every type of security policy, including access controls and physical security, applies directly to local data backups.
- Include your local data backup systems in your disaster recovery and incident response plans. Local data backups can be breached, compromised, or destroyed. Local backup systems can be affected and you need to have a plan outlining what you’re going to do if that time comes.
- Encrypt your local backups if your software and/or hardware supports it. As with laptop computers and other mobile devices, local backup media needs to be encrypted with strong passphrases. Properly implemented and managed encryption should be considered your first line of defense.
- However you choose to store your local backups (tape, network-attached storage, or external drives) be sure to physically control access to backup storage locations. Handle your local backup media as you would any other critical hardware.
- Research the security measures that your vendors for offsite storage, data center, and courier services have in place to ensure that your local backups remain safe in their hands. Service level agreements do offer fallback measures but they won’t keep sensitive data from being exposed. So make sure reasonable and consistent security measures are being followed by any vendor that has access to your local backups.
Know your vulnerabilities before your organization is impacted. Look at both your local data backup processes and systems to identity where the gaps are before it’s too late.
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This blog is meant to provide a starting point to implementing cyber security practices within your company. Due to the rapid progression of technology this is an ongoing and ever-evolving subject!