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  • Writer's pictureWilfried van Haeren

The Essential Guide to Securing Your Data Backups and Protecting Your Business

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

Data backup has always been important to any organization's data protection strategy. It ensures that vital information is not lost after a human error during a disaster or system failure. It also helps organizations comply with data privacy and security regulations.

Data Center and Corporate Data Backup title shot
Your Backup, only valuable when a Restore works

Perhaps a few questions to you as the reader to begin with.

  • How certain are you that the data backup of your corporate data is happening today?

  • Are you certain that a restore will work flawlessly?

  • Is a copy of the data stored outside your office location?

Learn more about the importance of a rock-solid data backup, retention, and restore process in this Hexaport Managed IT Services Brief edition or visit our dedicated webpage at https://www.hexaport.io/data-backup. Or signup for our free data backup assessment at https://www.hexaport.io/dr


Why Is Data Backup (Even More) Important Today?

Organizations can protect their valuable information assets from loss or damage by understanding the importance of backing up data and implementing an appropriate enterprise data backup solution.

Key steps to identify data backup process

Investing in a reliable and secure data backup solution provides peace of mind and can help reduce the risk of costly downtime due to data loss.

This article will discuss some of the risks associated with data loss and how companies can mitigate these risks by implementing secure backup solutions and other best practices.

Especially after recent publications on ransomware attacks describing how public and private organizations were locked down using malware to encrypt data; demanding a ransom to decrypt the data. The ability to bypass these demands by restoring data from a previous backup enables companies to save money, time and reputation.


Learn more about the data backup process and why it is essential in this Hexaport Managed IT Services brief, or visit our dedicated webpage at https://www.hexaport.io/data-backup.



The risks - What If Your Data Is No Longer Accessible

Example of a ransomware message
Company's nightmare screen: ransomware message

Data is one of the most critical assets for any business, and it is essential for making decisions, understanding customer behaviour, and driving growth.


But what would happen if your data was no longer accessible?


Data loss can have a significant financial impact on businesses and cause reputational damage. The risk of data loss increases with the complexity of systems and the amount of data stored in them. With the rise of cloud computing and AI-powered applications, businesses must protect their data against risks such as cyber-attacks, hardware failures or human error.



What If Your Data Backup Does Not Have Your Back?

What are the risks of not having a reliable data backup system? The main risk associated with not having a reliable data backup system is the threat of business interruption.

Desperate business man after discovering that data backup did not restore
Data Backs are failing at an alarming rate

Imagine if your company's website or application was offline for a week. What if... your company could not handle any orders, could not ship any product, did not invoice a single customer, and your customer decided to buy elsewhere.

If that happens, you would lose revenue due to lost orders and clients. A failed backup could also cause the loss of customer confidence, leading to a drop in revenue and market share due to decreased customer spending. A third risk associated with unreliable data backup is the potential for legal liability.



Data Backup Management - What Solutions & Strategies Should You Consider?

Data backup management is an essential part of any business. With the increasing complexity of data, it's essential to have a reliable and secure backup strategy in place.


By the end of this article, you will better understand what type of solution is best for your organization and how to implement it properly.


Location, location, location.

An often overlooked criteria is the location of your stored data. As a Canadian company, it is advantageous to store your backup data within Canada instead of the United States. Here are some key arguments to consider:

  1. Compliance with Canadian Data Privacy Laws: Canada has strict data privacy laws, and if you store your data within Canada, you can ensure that you comply with these regulations. If you store data in the US, you may be subject to different laws and regulations that could put your company at risk.

  2. Improved Data Sovereignty: Storing your data within Canada can improve your data sovereignty, which is the ability to control and protect your data. When you store data abroad, such as in the US, you may be subject to US government surveillance or data access laws, which can compromise your data sovereignty. Any data stored in China is not recommended at all.

  3. Enhanced Security and Reliability: Storing your backup data within Canada can enhance the security and reliability of your data. You can work with a Canadian data center provider that complies with Canadian security standards, and you can benefit from having your data stored in a physically secure location.

  4. Better Disaster Recovery: Storing your backup data within Canada can improve your disaster recovery capabilities. If you experience a disaster, such as a power outage or natural disaster, having your data stored within Canada can ensure that your data is accessible and recoverable quickly.

Overall, storing your backup data within Canada can provide numerous benefits, including compliance with Canadian data privacy laws, improved data sovereignty, enhanced security and reliability, and better disaster recovery capabilities. As a Canadian company, it is important to consider these factors when choosing where to store your backup data.


Let's look closer at this diagram's paths and elements on the right.

diagram showing three tiers of data storage. Live data, local backup and off-site cloud backup
3-tier data backup model

Local data backups are the traditional method, using on-site (at the business’ while hybrid backups offer more security and flexibility. We recognize that many on-premise data backup systems are not robust or appropriately sized to store and protect all company data.

For example, high-value or sensitive customer information is stored in your on-premise data backup system without secure and encrypted local backup, shadowed by an off-site stored equivalent in case of fire, theft or otherwise.


Cloud-Based Solutions: These backup solutions are offered over the internet and are accessible from anywhere with internet access. They can back up physical and virtual data through a cloud server accessible 24/7. It doesn't matter where you are located or when your business opens or closes because your data will always be backed up through the cloud!


Hybrid backups combine on-site and cloud storage, allowing you to store more files in a secure environment. Compared to local backups, hybrid solutions provide better protection against cyber threats and easier access to stored data. They also have the added benefit of being easier to manage and update.


Two critical parameters to apply when implementing a backup strategy are RTO and RPO.

The recovery time objective (RTO): the targeted duration between the event of failure and the point where operations resume.

A recovery point objective (RPO): the maximum time permitted that data can be restored, which may or may not mean data loss.

Vidual time line showing the position of RTO and RPO in a backup strategy
Difference between an RTO and RPO

Using RTO and RPO, choosing to have local and off-site backup systems in place is very important. With a low RTO, a local backup can quickly restore files, user profiles, applications and complete systems. Since the latter will typically be hundreds of GB of data, restore time from a local network attached systems (NAS) could only take minutes.

Compared to a cloud-based restore, which depends on the speed of the company's Internet and cloud service provider, could take much longer.



Benefits of Automated Data Backup Systems

Next to determining your RTO and RPO, automating data backup systems is the next step. The standard model for implementation is the Grandfather-father-son backup (GFS) rotation scheme for backup media, in which there are three or more backup cycles, such as daily, weekly and monthly.

Calenader showing the days when different backup jobs are scheduled to have daily incremental, weekly differential and monthly full backups
Example of scheduling a Grandfather - Father - Son backup scheme

To take this one step further: implementing a GFS scheme could stretch across local and off-site backup media. In this way, the live data is backed up by a local backup system, and simultaneously this local backup data is copied to an off-site cloud-based data storage site.


Encryption Is The Key

Each backup ensures a reliable and cost-effective way to ensure critical company data is regularly backed up. While making this backup, the data is also secured and encrypted. This prevents malware software (ransomware) from accessing and modifying this data by prohibiting the business from accessing it.

Illustration showing a lock on data protection, analogy to AES-256 key encryption of data
AES-256 encryption is a minimum level of security required to safeguard against cyber attacks

The data is securely encrypted by an AES-256 level encryption process and made immutable. The latter means that any malware software cannot encrypt your backed data.





Automation, set & forget.

Automated backups can be scheduled to run periodically, allowing businesses to focus on other tasks instead of manually backing up their data.


Additionally, incremental backups enable businesses to save time and storage space by only backing up the changes made since the last backup. Using our modern automated backup and data retention, we're able to keep track of every backup, every GFS version at every location to ensure secure data back up and a guaranteed restore. Hexaport works with a leading data backup solution and has a dedicated service with support engineers delivering this service.

Screenshot of the Hexaport backup and restore cloud portal
Dashboard example of our cloud-based backup service

Automatic data backup systems provide a reliable and cost-effective way for companies to ensure that essential data is regularly backed up and protected from potential threats. Data backup can be scheduled periodically, allowing businesses to focus on other tasks instead of manually backing up their data.



Hexaport's Best Practices for Secure Data Backups

In summary, data backups are essential for businesses of all sizes, as they help to protect against data loss or corruption. Reviewing the topics we addressed in this article enables your business to protect corporate data from unauthorized access and malicious attacks.


1. GFS: as described in the previous paragraph, having multiple copies on-site and off-site, using daily, weekly and monthly data restore points.


2. Hybrid Solution: with today’s low cost per TeraByte to store data in the cloud using Canadian-based storage; our customers mostly follow our advice to implement a hybrid model.


3. Encrypting data backups: Encryption is vital in protecting your data. It works by scrambling the data so that it cannot be read without the correct key, which authorized individuals should only know. Using a solid encryption algorithm when creating an encrypted backup is essential, as this will provide more security overall.

Illustration highlighting the building blocks of a secure data backup deployment
Cloud storage overview

We Are Here To Help

The use of cloud-based services has enabled small and medium businesses to access resources previously only available to large corporations.


We hope that this article has informed you of what is involved to procure and ensure the right levels of data backup and retention.

  1. Do you agree that data loss could have significant consequences for your business?

  2. Would you feel more secure knowing your data is backed up and recoverable?

  3. Are you interested in learning more about the best data backup and recovery practices?

Take action now by signing up for our Free Data Backup Assessment

Hexaport has the expertise to assess your current data backup and retention needs, enabling us to offer you a tailor-made and secure services that fits your business needs and budget. Find out more at https://www.hexaport.io/data-backup

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