Cloud Security, Security Strategy, Plan, Budget

World Backup Day: Data loss underscores need to backup

The steady stream of reports of schools, towns and companies being hit with ransomware and having to either pay their attackers for access to the encrypted content or spend months recovering because the data involved was not backed up makes World Backup Day more important than ever.

And the constant drumbeat of bad news concerning these attacks, along with education events like World Backup Day, are having an impact with a survey by software backup company Acronis finding almost 93 percent of consumers now backup their data in some form, up 24 percent from last year. However, despite this jump issues remain with 65 percent of those surveyed saying they lost data in 2018.

“At first glance, those two findings might seem completely incompatible – how can more data be lost if nearly everyone is backing up,” said James Slaby, director, cyber protection, at Acronis. “Yet there are hints at why these numbers look this way in the survey. People are using more devices and accessing their data from more places than ever before, which creates more opportunities to lose data. They might back up their laptop, but if they didn’t back up the smartphone they just forgot in a cab, they’re still losing data.”

Acronis also surveyed businesses and found most are backing up regularly, monthly (35.1 percent), weekly (24.8 percent), or daily (25.9 percent). This effort has resulted in 69 percent reporting  saying they did not suffer downtime due to a data loss event in the last year.

The fact that most people have multiple devices that contain important data simply increases the chances of something valuable being lost due to attack or error.

The survey also found people value their data more with 70 percent saying they would spend more than $50 to retrieve lost data, while last year only 15 percent said they would spend that amount.

While cloud storage services are abundant, most people favor backing up to a local device. Acronis found 48 percent use an external hard drive, 14.6 percent a hard drive partition and 37 percent the cloud.

Another counterintuitive point discovered is despite more people backing up knowledge surrounding the danger their data faces is remains low. Only 46 percent of they survey’s respondents knew of ransomware and how it could impact their data.

Backup safety tips:

Always create backups of important data. Keep copies of the backup both locally (so it’s available for fast, frequent recoveries) and in the cloud (to guarantee you have everything if a fire, flood, or disaster hits your facilities).

Ensure your operating system and software are current. Relying on an outdated OS or app means it lacks the bug fixes and security patches that help block cybercriminals from gaining access to your systems.

Beware of suspicious email, links, and attachments. Most virus and ransomware infections are the result of social engineering techniques that trick unsuspecting individuals into opening infected email attachments or clicking on links to websites that host malware.

Install anti-virus software and enable automatic updates so your system is protected against common, well-known malware strains. Windows user should confirm that their Windows Defender is turned on and up-to-date.

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