Data Mistakes You Might Be Making And How to Fix Them

To honor the critical nature of data preservation, World Backup Day acts as an essential nudge for individuals and organizations to protect their digital data. In the age of information technology, the risk of losing data due to hardware malfunctions, software complications, or cyber threats is significant. 

This day stresses the importance of regularly backing up data, raising awareness about digital preservation methods, and reinforcing the principle of being precautious in managing digital data.

Data backup, the process of duplicating data to retrieve it after a primary data loss, is crucial for both companies and individuals amid growing digital dependency for personal and work-related purposes. The backup process can range from simple manual duplication to complex automatic systems that track real-time data alterations.

Cloud computing evolution has markedly affected backup strategies, with cloud-based solutions offering scalability, flexibility, and ease of access. These options automate backups, minimize data loss risks, and assure data accuracy. Additionally, the integration of sophisticated encryption in cloud backups enhances security against data breaches and cyber threats.

Sophos’ recent survey data, when attackers succeed in compromising backups, the overall attacks lead to greater financial and operational costs for organizations. For example, in the survey, organizations that had their backups compromised:

  • Received almost double the ransomware demand [the median demand was $2.326 million for those with compromised backups versus $ 1 million for those without]
  • Paid almost double the ransom [the median ransom was $ 2 million for those with compromised backups versus $ 1.062 million for those without]
  • Incurred eight times higher overall ransomware recovery costs [the median recovery cost was $ 3 million for those with compromised backups versus $ 375,000 for those without]

“Backups are key to organizational resilience. Early anomaly detection and prompt response can prevent cyber threats from compromising backups. Without reliable backups, ransomware victims may face undesirable decisions, such as paying ransoms, significantly impacting business operations without recovery alternatives”, highlights John Shier, field CTO at Sophos.

The duty of data backup is not only technological but also human. According to Western Digital, common backup mistakes include: 

Neglecting Regular Backups – Skipping regular backups is a common mistake that leaves data vulnerable to loss. Establishing a consistent backup routine, including automatic backups, helps protect against data loss from system crashes or malware attacks.

Relying on a Single Backup Device – Relying solely on one backup device is risky, as it could be damaged or stolen, jeopardizing your data’s safety. Instead, diversify your backup solutions with a mix of external HDDs, NAS, and cloud storage. WD’s My Passport™ portable HDDs offer up to 5TB* for cost-effective backups. For smartphones, consider 2-in-1 flash drives like SanDisk Ultra® Dual Drive Go USB Type-C™ and SanDisk® iXpand® Flash Drive Luxe, which automatically back up photos and videos. WD’s My Book™ desktop drive provides up to 22TB* for extensive data storage needs.

Forgetting Version Control – Neglecting version control in backups is a mistake, as it raises the risk of saving corrupted or wrong data over previous versions. Establish a system that tracks changes over time to avoid this. Regularly maintaining it ensures readiness for any issues. Always verify the version being backed up to prevent accidental overwriting with incorrect data, safeguarding the most accurate information.

Ignoring Off-Site Backups – Consider off-site backups as essential safeguards against local disasters like fires or theft. Unlike local backups, off-site solutions store data in different locations, ensuring its safety even if one site is compromised. Cloud storage offers convenient remote access via the internet, with features like file synchronization and encryption for secure data storage.

Underestimating the Need for Encryption – Prioritizing encryption in backups is crucial to safeguard sensitive data. Storing unencrypted backups exposes your data to unauthorized access. Implementing strong encryption, like 256-bit AES, secures data even if it falls into the wrong hands. However, avoid out-of-the-box solutions that may hinder data retrieval later. My Passport™ HDD and My Book™ from WD offer built-in encryption for enhanced security. Proper key management is vital for seamless decryption and access to data when required.

Despite technological advancements in backups, challenges like data volume growth, data complexity, and evolving cyber threats require ongoing adaptation and enhancement of backup strategies. This day provides an opportunity to reflect on these challenges, explore new backup technologies, and emphasize the importance of data backup in preserving digital legacies.

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