Author Archive technicalguy

Bytechnicalguy

Test A Restore From A Backup

When disaster strikes and data is lost you need to restore from a backup. 

Are you sure you can get your files back?

A disaster is not the time to have any uncertainty or questions about your ability to restore data.

The only way to know you can confidently restore from a backup is to have tested it. 

If you have never restored from a backup then make today the day. Here’s some tips for planning and preparing to restore from a backup.

Once Upon A Time..

I heard a story many years ago of a company that religiously backed up their data to tape, and put each tape in a safe tucked in the corner every night. They had multiple copies of their backup and they diligently rotated their tapes each day to make sure they were covered.

story about restore from a backup

One day disaster struck and they needed to restore from their backup tapes.

When they pulled out the most recent backup and tried to restore from it they discovered that the backup was corrupted. They went to the previous backup and that was corrupted too. In fact, every tape in the safe was corrupt and unusable!

How could this be? They had been so diligent! Well, after some sleuthing they discovered that the company next door to them had a machine (I think it was a refrigerator or microwave) right on the other side of the wall that was sending out magnetic radiation.

Unbeknownst to them each tape was being erased as they put it in the safe.

The point is; if they had tested restoring from a backup they would have found this out before needing it after a critical data loss.

What About Your Backup?

How do you backup?

Do you backup to an external USB drive? If so where do you put it? Have you actually confirmed there is data on that drive? What if you lose it? What if the disk fails? External USB drives have an 11.3% failure rate over three years. Backing up to an external USB drive is not ideal unless it is just one piece of a bigger backup plan.

Do you backup to tapes? If so you are in a group that is steadily growing smaller. Tapes still exist but are used less and less due to handling and often fussy procedures when restoring. Due to being magnetic they are susceptible to interference from other objects, like the story above. In fact, tapes fail 20-50% of the time!

Do you backup to your local NAS? That is more efficient than tapes to be sure, but if that is your only copy then know that Ransomware writers are getting better and better at reaching out and encrypting all devices on the network. In a Ransomware attack there is a good chance your local NAS backup will also be unusable.

What about Cloud Backup? One advantage of a Cloud Backup is the “air gap” it provides between your local network and the backup. Ransomware cannot cross that gap. It’s protected – and because it is outside the office and offsite it also protects you from fire, flood, or other local disaster.

Regardless of which backup method you choose, you need to confirm your ability to restore from that backup.

How To Restore From A Backup

For most backup systems currently available there’s actually nothing too complicated to testing a restore from a backup. You just need to actually make the time to do it.

  1. Choose a random file that you know is being backed up and rename it.
  2. Go to your backup system and choose Recovery
  3. Find that file on the backup and have it restored back to its original location.
  4. Go and see if it is back, and recent, and you can open it.
  5. Compare it to the file you renamed, they should be the same.
  6. Either delete your renamed file, or delete the restored file and rename the original file back to its original name.

With a cloud based backup system such as ours a file can easily be restored from the web based management portal and the whole process should take no longer than about fifteen minutes.

What If It Didn’t Work?

If you could not restore the file, or realized you didn’t know how to do it – HOORAY!

Now you know you need to either change your backup system, or learn more about it so you can be confident it will work next time.

The good news is that you learned this on a normal day, without the stress and anxiety of data loss. Find out how to fix the problem and test again, and again, until you are comfortable your data is not only being backed up, but is also available to restore from as well.

You and your company are now in a better place and you will survive that Ransomware attack or disaster. This is time well spent.

Bytechnicalguy

Ransomware and Air Gapped Backups

Think Ransomware is dead? Think again!

Here’s a chilling example of a Ransomware attack that will likely lead to the closure of the attacked business. The attackers are asking for US$14 million.

Ransomware Attack on Healthcare Provider

A Healthcare IT provider based out of Milwaukee Wisconsin is struggling to restore services to 110 nursing homes after a ransomware attack that was still ongoing at the time the article was written.

The attack affected

” virtually all of their core offerings, including Internet service and email, access to patient records, client billing and phone systems, and even VCPI’s own payroll operation”

It’s not stated in the article from Krebsonsecurity if backups were available, but if they were it sounds like they were also compromised.

Air Gapped Backups

air gapped backupA Cloud Backup like we offer at CloudPockets is an air gapped backup system.

What does this mean? It means your files are enumerated locally, encrypted, compressed, and then a connection to the server is made and they are sent to the server. After the backup is finished the connection to the server is closed.

This is different than having your backup server also on-premise and visible from within the network. On-premise backups have their place, to be sure, but Ransomware has been known to encrypt the on-premise backups, rendering them useless.

With a cloud backup the connection to the backup server closed so there is no way a ransomware attack can leap across that air gap to access the backups sitting on the cloud server from the local network.

This is the air gap, and it’s part of the 3-2-1 Backup Rule. The “1” is the cloud backup piece.

Ransomware and Healthcare

Ransomware attackers seem to be focusing more on the healthcare industry. This may be partly due to centralized services like the one in this article.

A French hospital was attacked November 22, and a Missouri health system was attacked November 21.

Ransomware doesn’t look to be slowing down, however it has become more focused on specific markets.

Local governments is another target, with Georgia county having to pay US$400,000 in order to recover files. Riviera Beach Florida paid US$600,000 to get files back, and the city of Baltimore refused to pay, but has since incurred US$18 million to recover.

Get An Air Gapped Backup

Whatever your industry; the likelyhood of a ransomware attack is increasing. Be prepared with a backup, and make sure one of them is an air gapped backup.

Bytechnicalguy

Riviera Beach Ransomware

After a computer outage of almost a month, Riveira Beach in Florida has decided to give into Ransomware demands and pay $600,000 to – hopefully – get their files back.

 

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Bytechnicalguy

Don’t Be A Fool

World Backup Day is March 31st – the day before April Fools Day.

Don’t want to look like a fool? Get an automatic backup plan in place!

backup time

What To Back Up?

In a word: Everything.

This includes:

  • Desktop
  • Documents
  • Pictures
  • Videos
  • Emails

You may have other special places that you store your data. Now would be the time to make sure you know where all your data is so you can capture it with an automatic backup.

How To Back Up?

In a word: Automatically

Backups are not a one-shot “there I did it!” type of activity.

Your data changes daily: emails arrive and are viewed and deleted, pictures come and go, reports, financials, goals, lists. Our life, and our data, is dynamic, ever changing. Your backup needs to capture this.

Copying files to an external USB drive once in a while is not a backup. It’s more of an archive because everything there will be old. You can guarantee that your computer will die just before you decide to do the next file copy.

The only way to properly capture what you need to preserve is a daily automatic backup. You don’t think about it, it just happens.

What About Cloud Drives?

automatic backup

Many of us now keep our documents, spreadsheets, and photos in the cloud. Do we need to back that up? Aren’t they backing it up for us?

Most cloud drives such as box.com, dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, are a synchronization mechanism. You work on files locally and they are synchronized to the cloud so they are available everywhere.

The problem with synchronization is that if you change or delete something locally, it changes or is deleted in the cloud as well. There is no “previous version”. You often can’t go be to last week and retrieve that document you accidentally deleted.

With an automatic backup – you can.

So Just Start

You need a backup to preserve your important files and photos. You need an automatic backup to make sure it gets done daily – because you won’t remember to do it.

You can get this in place today with an easy backup solution for your individual computer. Runs daily, is easy to set up, and is an automatic backup.

Start a backup today – and don’t be a fool on April 1st.

Bytechnicalguy

Profiled On Medium.com

Thanks to Phil at medium.com for profiling us in this Dec 2018 post.

It’s difficult sometimes to be noticed in the shadow of the United States, who’s market is ten times as big as the Canadian market.

Our backup market is clearly the Canadian market and those businesses and organizations that understand the pressing need to keep data within Canadian borders.

Due to our PIPEDA compliance, our customers tend to be Lawyers, Not for Profits, Accountants and Bookkeepers, and other businesses that deal with personal information that needs to stay in Canada.

If you are looking for a 100% Canadian backup service please reach out to us. We can set you up with a free trial for you to see how our cloud backup can work for you.

Bytechnicalguy

2018 Changes To PIPEDA

On November 1st 2018, major changes to PIPEDA (Canada’s federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) will come into effect. This is in conjunction with the European Union’s recent General Data Protection Regulation (GPDR).

If you work with or come in contact with private personal identifiable information then you need to know what changes may be required to your business processes.

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Bytechnicalguy

Backup Windows System State

For full disaster recovery of your server you cannot backup just server files, you must also backup the group of files that comprise the Windows System State. These are critical files that are required in a restore to bring the server services back to a point in time of the last backup. Read More

Bytechnicalguy

We’ve Updated Our Site!

We’ve just completed a brand new look and feel for the site. Hope you like it!

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Bytechnicalguy

Backup To The Cloud

Protect your data offsite securely and efficiently

Bytechnicalguy

World Backup Day 2018

World Backup Day 2018 is on March 31st, a Saturday.

Are you ready? Will you be doing a backup of your critical data on Saturday?

Me? Yes, I will be doing a backup, in fact for me it will be just “another backup”. I backup my laptop, which is my primary work computer, every day at noon.
I don’t think about it, I don’t worry about it, it just happens automatically.
Well actually I do think about. That is, I review the backup notification every morning just to confirm everything got backed up as expected, Mostly it has and so the review is really a glance and delete the email. Takes all of 2 seconds. Read More