OIS Security Bytes: Backup Reminder

UNC’s Office of Information Systems will be posting bite-sized IT Security tips for our users. As IT security concerns become more a part of our everyday life, awareness is one of our best allies. For more information, contact your local IT Support or chat with us at help.med.unc.edu.

OIS Security Bytes: Backup Reminder click to enlarge Have you backed your data up lately?

Backup Reminder

“The single most important thing any company or individual can do to improve security is have a good backup strategy. It's been true for decades, and it's still true today.” Bruce Schneier https://www.schneier.com/about.html

Ultimately, you want your data in at least two places to provide for availability after failure or corruption. We are seeing an increase in ransom-ware infections as of late. These infections encrypt your data and then try to extort a fee to decrypt it for you. A backup copy of the data is often the only recovery option.

You can use another computer or server, an external drive, or a cloud service* for your back up. Ideally, the data will live in two different physical locations as well in case of larger disasters (fire, flood…).

How often you back up should be dictated by the value of the data you are saving (be it personal or professional). Hint/Advice: it will inevitably be more important to you after you lose it.

Lastly, you should routinely test the back up by trying to access/restore a file from it in order to ensure the backup itself is working properly and has not become corrupt.

For a much more detailed article regarding backup, please see this article for PCs: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2363057,00.asp or this article for Macs: https://www.apple.com/support/backup/.

*IMPORTANT: No cloud service (Dropbox; Google Docs; iCloud) should be considered safe for private or sensitive data. Breaches occur. If you are storing personal information that you would not want made public, we suggest encrypting it before storing it. And without a data use agreement in place, cloud services are NOT appropriate for PII or PHI.