Every company needs to backup their system since it’s the only line of defence against several threats that can corrupt or invalidate your data, but you need to make sure your backup is capable of protecting your business in any situation. Your backup should be hosted in a different site from your main system, to maximise security and reduce the risk of your backup being taken down by the same event that damaged your main system.
Offsite backups provide a range of benefits that locally hosted backups can't, so make sure you're maximising your company's resilience by moving your backup to a separate location. Storing your backup offsite will provide additional protection against all of the below:
1. Protection from malware
If your system is successfully attacked by ransomware or any other kind of malware, it could lock up your entire system, encrypting all the data it can find so you are no longer able to access it. If your backup is stored in the same system, or on the same network, then the malware could encrypt that as well.
Ransomware is a type of cyber attack that encrypts all your data, and the attacker will then ask for money in exchange for decryption.
If you store your backup at a different site then you are properly protected, as the malware won’t be able to access your backup, and you can use it to restore your system, avoiding dealing with the attacker or their encryption. This will get your business back up and running quicker and let you avoid paying a ransom if that is what the attacker is demanding.
2. Auditing and data integrity
It might be tempting to minimise how many backups you have stored since it's difficult to store many different backup versions over a long period of time. But hosting your backup offsite can make it easier, and it's important to have a comprehensive backup process because:
- You need to be able to present a log of your backups and data during an audit
- You have superior protection against human error; if a mistake that corrupts the integrity of your data is missed for a while, it can still be fixed by restoring a previous backup
- It will be easier to pin point when something corrupted your data and find the issue if you have a comprehensive record of your data
This uses a lot of storage space, with backup strategies like grandfather-father-son requiring you to store many backups, some of them for at least a year or longer.
Grandfather-father-son backups is a system where daily backups (the son) are collected, alongside weekly (father) and monthly (grandfather) backups to create a good mix of recent and long-term backups covering you for every eventuality.
Dedicating the storage space to these backups is important, but it requires a lot of hardware. Hosting your backups offsite lets you:
- Free up space locally for scaling out your primary computer system
- Take advantage of unlimited capacity at a second site, letting you expand the number of backups as needed
- Enhance your business disaster recovery plan
3. Geographic diversity
If something takes your computer system offline by physically damaging it, chances are it will also damage your backup if it’s stored at the same site. There are a lot of disasters that could physically damage your IT, some of them that are disconcertingly common are:
- Power surge
- Equipment theft
Geographic diversity means having your backup in a physically different location, which will be unaffected by the disaster that has taken your primary system offline. So, storing your backup offsite will allow you to stay online, no matter what has happened to your primary computer system.
How to deploy an offsite backup
Since a lot of businesses don't have the resources to launch a site exclusively for hosting a backup solution, they will often use a data centre to host their offsite backup.
A data centre is a facility designed to be the ideal environment to host computer servers and other hardware, and they come equipped with sophisticated cooling, power and network infrastructure to minimise your downtime.
Even if you want to be responsible for managing your backup, a data centre will be able to offer you a backup service that suits you.
Having an offsite system backup will maximise your security and resiliency, guaranteeing you can restore your computer system and stay online, no matter what else has happened to your primary system.
A data centre can also help with changing tapes on a schedule, and storing long-term backups, spare hard disks, USB keys or system passwords.