What’s your backup plan for business data? – Online Backup Saves the Day for Dougherty County Clerk of Court’s Office

January 23, 2012

WALB.com reported on January 23rd, 2012 that the Dougherty County Clerk of Court recently experienced what many businesses fear:  complete data loss by a simple “computer glitch”. More than 11 months of office data were wiped clean. The office estimated that it would have taken one year for employees to manually enter the data back into the system, which relies on data being stored electronically.

More than 11 months of records from Dougherty County civil and criminal cases disappeared from their computer files Wednesday.

This afternoon they were restored, but the city Information Technology folks aren’t sure what happened. Clerk of Superior Court Evonne Mull says fortunately the computer back up worked as it was supposed to. If it had failed it could have meant a monumental amount of work.

Now she has already taken steps to make sure the glitch doesn’t happen again. 

Workers at the Dougherty County Clerk of Courts office were relieved when their computer backups restored all the data files since February 11th, 2011 until January 18th, that just disappeared Wednesday.

Fortunately, Dougherty County Clerk of Courts’ story has a happy ending. Their data backup plan allowed them to quickly restore their lost records and save tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The I.T. department continues to look into the computer glitch, to find out what happened, and make sure their hardware doesn’t have any issues.

Evonne Mull has worked with her case management service, that provides the back up system, to make sure it is reliable. Now they will test the back up programs daily.

She recommends anyone that keeps data should make sure those back ups are in place and working properly. Mull had already applied for overtime for her office workers to re-input all those files.

Fortunately, they won’t have to do that.

Many businesses experience the same unexpected data loss that Dougherty County Clerk of Courts office did. For those that aren’t properly backing up data, it’s a very costly disaster. Data destruction comes in many forms: computer glitches, human error, deletion, theft, and of course, natural disaster. Develop a strategy for backing up your data. Whether you have servers, PCs, a laptop fleet, or external drives to backup  – SOS Online Backup has a solution.

View the original article on WALB.com by clicking here.


FBI and DHS Recommend Data Backup to Lessen Risk of Cyber Attacks : Data Backup & Recovery Plan 2012

January 22, 2012

Have you ever wondered how easy it is for criminals to access your files on your PC? Unfortunately, it’s very easy. It goes without saying that your data is very valuable to you. All kinds of sensitive information is stored on your computer: financial data, taxes, photos, and even items like music that you’ve paid for. If you own a business with several computers in use, you’re probably keeping valuable customer data as well as proprietary company data on those PCs. All of this data, if not properly backed up, is vulnerable to erasure or theft at any time.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security recently released a report on cyber attacks. This report provided several recommendations on mitigating the risk of cyber attacks on individuals and businesses, which mainly employ the tactic of backing up data and protecting it safely off site, where it cannot be tampered with or accessed.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) encourage businesses and individuals to use mitigation strategies and best practices like:

  • Implement a data back-up and recovery plan to maintain copies of sensitive or proprietary data in a separate and secure location. Backup copies of sensitive data should not be readily accessible from local networks.
  • Regularly mirror and maintain an image of critical system files.
  • Encrypt and secure sensitive information.
  • Use strong passwords, implement a schedule for changing passwords frequently, and do not reuse passwords for multiple accounts.
  • Enable network monitoring and logging where feasible.
  • Be aware of social engineering tactics aimed at obtaining sensitive information.
  • Securely eliminate sensitive files and data from hard drives when no longer needed or required.
As a business or an individual, keep in mind that laptops are particularly vulnerable to theft. They are mobile, lightweight, and contain precious data. By scheduling backups regularly, you’ll always be able to recover data to a new machine or laptop quickly and easily.
The report was originally posted on US-CERT on January 19th, 2012.

Business Owners : Audit Your Backups – What is your Data Backup Strategy for 2012?

January 3, 2012

You’re a smart business person and you know the value of backup.  You may even already be using an online backup service, because you understand the value of not only having a backup, but having it stored offsite.  The question for today is:

How Current is Your Strategy?

When you initially designed your backup strategy, you were probably asked to identify the important data that needed to be protected.  User directories, data folders for accounting software, email databases and the like.  What’s changed since then?  How have your users changed, what are their habits?

Application Data Backup

If you’ve upgraded any of your software, such as accounting or even email systems, it’s possible that the data is now being stored in another location.  The backup software, as smart as it is, isn’t aware that the most current financials are now being stored at c:\accounting 2011\data instead of c:\accounting 2010\data.  Go through your list of directories being backed up and review them on the network.  If you find a directory being backed up that hasn’t had new files for six months, make sure there’s not something you are missing.

Operating System Upgrades

If you’ve moved from Windows XP to Windows 7 like a lot of other users, your data is no longer being stored in the same location.  What used to be stored in ‘My Documents’ is now being stored under ‘Documents’.  Some backup software will be able to tell the difference while others will fail because the old target folder no longer exists.

Users Being Users

Are your users still following the same model?  As many times as you say ‘please store your files in this folder’, people change their habits.  The last thing you want is one of your high-end users losing data, even if it’s because they’re saving to the wrong location.

All in all, if you haven’t reviewed your backups recently, now is the time to do it.  Make sure what you are backing up is still needed, and no new critical data is being missed because it has either changed location or is functioning differently.  Start from scratch by identifying what needs to be backed up again, then go to your backup software and ensure the job is being done correctly.  This is something that needs to be done on a regular basis, so consider scheduling an audit of your backups regularly.  Data security requires good habits and accountability.


77% of Businesses Lost Data in 2010 – How to Prevent Data Loss?

December 4, 2011

That’s a big number.

As a customer of some businesses and an owner of a business, it may give you a great shock to find out that 52% of this information was customer information. As employees start using multiple devices that are not monitored by the company’s IT department for work (iPhones, iPads, Androids), this data is exposed to harm more often than ever before.

Customer information was the most common type of data to be compromised in UK businesses

Three-quarters (75%) of UK organisations experienced data loss in 2010, a little lower than the global average of 77%, according to a survey conducted by Check Point and Ponemon Institute.

The survey ‘Understanding Security Complexity in 21st Century IT Environments’ revealed that customer information was the most common type of data to be compromised in UK businesses at 52%. Intellectual property (36%), employee information (36%) and consumer information (35%) were the other top stolen data.

In addition, with the adoption of Web 2.0 apps and more mobile devices connecting to the network, organisations are challenged with enforcing better data security and IT Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) requirements.

450 IT managers were surveyed. The majority of them believed that their employees had little understanding of data security, but they had been unable to control automatic backups for their employees.

According to the survey of approximately 450 IT security administrators in the UK, the primary cause for data loss was from lost or stolen equipment, cited by 35% of the UK respondents.

Network attacks accounted for a quarter, followed by Web 2.0 and file-sharing applications (22%), and unencrypted USB or media storage devices (19%).

The survey showed that more than half (53%) of UK respondents believe their employees have little or no awareness about data security, compliance and policies, with only 19% reporting high awareness of these issues – the third lowest of the five countries surveyed (UK, USA, France, Japan, Australia).

Check Point Software Technologies network security products vice-president Oded Gonda said data security and compliance are often at the top of the CISO’s list.

“However, if you look at the drivers for data loss, the majority of incidents are unintentional,” Gonda said.

“In order to move data loss from detection to prevention, businesses should consider integrating more user awareness and establish the appropriate processes to gain more visibility and control of information assets.”

Read the entire article at CBR Online.

Business data does not need to be this vulnerable. Cloud backup is secure and cost efficient and can be set up to run automatically and continuously.  Don’t let laptop fleets, workstations, and mobile devices remain vulnerable. Get a competitive advantage and institute a complete, encrypted cloud backup program.


The Seasons Bring More and More Cloud Worthy Data : Digital Data Backup Solution for Smart Phones,Tablets & Laptops

November 23, 2011

Seasons are changing and the holidays are rapidly approaching.  As I gear up my own family for the festivities, I’m also thinking about my clients.  With new Black Friday electronics coming into the home, I need to make sure they’re prepared for the reality of the care and feeding required.

Just like when purchasing a new pet for a child, I like to make sure my clients understand the responsibilities required when caring for these new toys.  While a dog or cat requires love and affection, feeding and regular visits to the back yard, new electronics have their own requirements.  As I talk to them about maintenance and warranty concerns, I also have to bring up the purpose of most of these consumer electronics.

Data

Just about all of these devices have one common goal or one side-effect as I sometimes call it.  They create data.  Let’s go over some of the most common new products you might be purchasing and what sort of data you will be creating that needs to be safeguarded through proper backups.

Cell Phones – The day of the old ‘brick phone’ is over.  Making calls is something the manufacturers don’t talk about as much anymore.   We all assume that call quality will be fine and that the other party will receive our messages.  The more advertising-friendly features of phones are their data-gathering capabilities.  We fill flash cards with photos of events, video clips and even have the ability to edit and create professional video on some of the newer devices.  Do these files languish on the phone?  The solution: Make sure your desktop or laptop has a reader that will directly support the flash card in your phone and save your files there.  Transfer them regularly to the trusty desktop, and make sure they are going to a folder that is being backed up by your backup software. Backup your Android and your iPhone with SOS.

Tablets – From the iPod to some of the newer Android entries, tablets have hit the market by storm.  Unfortunately, even in the process of using them as a laptop-replacement, many users are neglecting the fact that they are creating important home and work documents and treating the tablet as just another gadget.  The solution:  Make sure your files are being synced to another device, be it though a flash card or over your home network.  The tablet will cease being a fun toy as soon as an important file is lost forever.

Laptops – More and more school-age kids are carrying laptops.  From term papers to final projects, the files they create are just as important as business files.  There is nothing like the ability to reprint a project that was lost in the grading process.  The solution:  Backup.  For a very reasonable cost, these important files can be protected with online backup, without the intervention of the student.  As they use the machine, the files are transferred online and are protected from loss.

So here’s to a happy holiday season.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we’re creating more and more data every day.  Let’s keep it protected.

— The Backup Master


Living on the Digital Edge: Laptop Fleet Protect

May 26, 2011

While designing a data backup and disaster recovery plan in an organization, it is usually configured for nodes that are connected within the network, generally the servers and the workstations. Any data that is distributed out of the network, or living on the fringes of the network, very rarely gets covered or never covered in the disaster recovery plan. IBM estimates that up to 60% of the data in an organization is sitting “on the edge of the network” or on the “nodes that move in and out of the network”. These include laptops, mobile devices, even branch offices, which are usually not included in the central disaster recovery plan. As a result, remote user data is vulnerable, to data loss.

The data created and used by your remote team is on the very edge of your network. As such, it is often outside the reach of your central backup. Protecting the digital assets within this fleet is a unique challenge requiring a dedicated solution.

Laptop fleet protect

Some of the advanced features which you should scout for in a disaster recovery plan, to protect the data on your network’s edge are:

Continuous Data Protection

Your files should get 24×7 data protection through Cloud Sync.  All your files should be backed up whenever you make a slightest modification in them.  Every new version of your file must be backed up instantly and stored in a secured environment.  You should be able to roll back to any version of your files using time machine feature and recover the snapshot of your files and versions.

Unlimited Versioning & Archiving

Over 80% of data loss occurs due to accidental deletion.  Your backup provider should ensure that it will keep every version of every file forever until you want to remove it.  While most online backup systems will delete a file from your backup when you delete the file on your laptop, a proper backup would mean that only the user who created the file should decide when to delete it.  Your data should be kept safe until you decide to delete it. This is needed as an ideal solution for any business that’s required by law to retain all their old data.  Importantly, all this solution (ideally) should be provided free of cost to the customers. Read the rest of this entry »


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