There’s a lot of news in the media at the moment about massive system hacks by a number of rogue hacker groups. One of the local ones recently has been domain registrar DistributeIT based here in Australia. Their systems were not only hacked, but totally and utterly destroyed by the hackers. The most recent news article on this has DistributeIT talking about how even there backups were erased. And based on that we can assume a few things.
- Is that they ONLY had image based backups of their systems that were stored online.
- They did nothing to protect the image backups or provide for the scenario that their image backups would become compromised.
- They did not have any form of offline backup of their systems – not even a week old backup that could have helped them recover.
No don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying they got what they deserved. No one deserves to have their business decimated in the way that I’m sure DistributeIT is right now. But they did not fully consider the potential ramifications that could happen should a deep compromise of their systems occur.
Now personally I’ve used image based backup products like StorageCraft for quite some time and I love them. I also use products that work specifically with tape such as BackupAssist as well. However if you are to use an image based product alone here, then you need to consider what would happen in the event that your backups are erased. How can you prevent that from occurring? If you have some form of replication to replicate the data offsite, then that replication is also potentially likely to replicate the deletion (depending on how you have it configured). Particular attention needs to be paid here and this is where some form off offline backup comes into play. Be it tapes or offline hard drives, you need to ensure that you have a way that will prevent hackers from getting in overnight and killing your business.
Why tapes I hear you ask? How’s this for a few reasons to start with…
- Tapes are pretty much “hacker proof” because you can’t just erase or format a tape. That can only be done via the tape backup software and if you don’t have an autoloader then there is only one tape in the drive at a time – therefore limiting the potential damage a hacker could do
- Compared to disk – you can have all your backups on a single disk/NAS/SAN and they can be lost or corrupted with a single erase operation. Heck – look at my recent experiences here where I had corruption of the data yet the disks were “ok”.
- Viruses can infect a disk and corrupt existing backups – but they can’t infect tapes.
If you were to change your offline media on a daily basis then you limit what they can do to your business? What are you doing to prevent this for yourself and customers?
So – I ask you – is Tape really dead? If you are thinking more about this then check out BackupAssist as an option as they can support tape on versions of Windows that don’t have native tape support which is basically everything from Windows Server 2008 or SBS 2008 onwards.
Nope – for me – I’m seriously revisiting how my backup strategies are maintained and am looking to develop some new ideas and practices around this.