Category Archive Server Backup


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.


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


Best Way To Remove Ransomware

96% of US companies are not confident in their ability to remove ransomware. Eighty percent have suffered a cyber attack last year, over 1/3 lost revenue,and 20% had to stop business completely.

Ransomware is scary and the chance of getting attacked is increasing. Here’s some statistics from a report sponsored by Malwarebytes.

Ransomware Statisticsremove ransomware stats

  • 46% of ransomware attacks originated from email (30% in Canada)
  • 40% paid ransomware demands
  • 64% spent more than nine hours to resolve the attack
  • 96% of US organizations are not confident in their ability to stop ransomware

source: Cantech letter

How To Remove Ransomware

In fact, it is not difficult to remove ransomware – if you plan ahead, the study says;

“Switch from protection to disaster planning: The most popular way of addressing the problem is not through protection, but by backing up data (over 71 percent).”

The easiest and most popular way to remove ransomware is to go to your backup prior to the attack and restore the data.

Backing up is something all businesses should be doing as a regular part of their process, and cloud backups make this process even easier. Backup your critical data an set a retention period (the amount of historical days you are backing up) to a reasonable length of time – by default our backup sets a retention period of seven days.

Should you get attacked you will still have some work ahead of you, to be sure, but you will not have to pay ransomware demands and your business will survive and continue to move forward.

Is that It?!

Sounds easy doesn’t it? It does, however, mean that you need to plan, you need to do something now. You cannot recover your data if you do not already have a backup. Trying to do a backup after the fact will only copy the ransomware encrypted files, it won’t help.

You should also invest in protection software so that attackers don’t continue to attack you repeatedly, and this is where products such as Malwarebytes comes into play. Your IT department or consultant should be focused on ransomware especially if you are a healthcare or financial company, as these are the top industries to be attacked.

Start a backup now. Make sure your backups are working properly and make sure they are backing up everything you need should a disaster strike. Test a backup restore to make sure you know the process and that it actually works as expected.

You can beat and remove ransomware attacks with some planning and an effective backup plan.


When Is The Best Time To Backup?

Let’s face it, we’re all busy, so when is the best time to backup?
We spend our days trying to fit in the important things, along with the urgent things, and it’s often tough to pick between the two. We know doing backups is important, but unless they are automated they are not urgent enough until it’s too late and data has been lost. Even with automation; when is the best time to backup your computer? Morning? Evening? Overnight?
Read More


Hard Drive Failure Can Be Planned For

internal-hard-driveUgh, a hard drive failure. The hard drive is still likely the most fragile component on a computer. Sure, they have got more robust over the years, and can survive more G-forces than they used to. But the problem is not really the hard drive itself, the problem is that people keep dropping their computers. Or, they get knocked onto the floor by associates, pets, or the laptop just gets generally abused over time. The result? A hard drive failure.
Read More


Cloud Computing for Lawyers in BC

The Law Society of British Columbia has just come out and said that “BC lawyers are prohibited from using non-BC-based cloud computing providers, including Google and Dropbox.” according to the website Slaw. If this is indeed the case then CloudPockets can help in at least one area, maybe more. Read More


Tomorrow’s The Big Day

blue-cloudWe’ve been gearing up and getting ready for the additional cloud service we’re opening up tomorrow – Web Hosting.

There’s a lot of behind the scenes work to be done to make sure everything happens seamlessly tomorrow. The existing web hosting customer’s websites won’t flicker, there will no interruption of service. The same goes for our Cloud Backup customers, since we’re using completely separate servers for these two services.

It’s been a few years since I’ve managed website hosting. I looked after a cluster of websites that processed money transactions a while back. I remember with my team at that time managing to fend of one of the largest denial of service attacks at the time – it took us two days. (I certainly hope not to go through that again)

The Cloud is where it’s at – and for Canadian businesses CloudPockets is the place!