A recent article in Readwriteweb made some good points about why physical backup media such as tapes, DVDs and external hard drives are no longer a viable means of performing backups. On May 29 of this year, the National Archives issued a public statement disclosing that a 2TB Western Digital MY BOOK external hard drive had gone missing. This drive apparently happened to contain a copy of a backup tape from the Office of the President, dating back to the Clinton Administration.
Given the sensitive nature of the information contained on this drive, the Secret Service and the National Archives Office of the Inspector General decided to launch an investigation into the disappearance, and offer a $50,000 reward for the safe recovery of the device.
Well, now it’s been several months and the data is still missing. This high-profile example is just the latest in a series of incidents that are calling attention to the dangers of storing your data on unencrypted devices. Tape and other physical media, when used properly, can be very insecure:
Physical failure of storage media (such as DVDs, external hard drives, tape, etc…) is a leading cause of expensive critical data loss.
Physical media is also susceptible to human error. In smaller companies, the job of performing daily backups will often be left to inexperienced internal staff members who might not have been trained on how to perform the backups properly. When it’s discovered that the backups had been improperly done, it’s usually too late.
Physical media is often unencrypted, and is a primary target for data theft. The solution is to ensure that backups are properly done, in a secure fashion, onto media that can’t be physically damaged. And that’s where online backup comes in.
Online backup is fully automated. This not only save you time and money, but it also takes the human element out of the backup equation. This eliminates the possibility of human error.
If you select an online backup solution with a strong encryption algorithm or cloud computing security system, nobody will ever be able to access your sensitive internal data. Some online backup providers even go so far as to allow you to select a private encryption key that’s only known by you. This prevents them from accessing your data without your permission.
Because online backup providers operate in “the cloud”, your data is often stored redundantly multiples datacenters. If one of the systems happens to go down, there’s another one ready to go. This helps ensure that you’ll never lose data due to faulty physical media.
Quite simply, online backup is the easier, more secure and error-free way to protect your data.
If you’re currently backing up to tape or DVD, make sure to read about the incident at the National Archives, and consider how a similar incident could affect your company.