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The Importance of Back-up
It’s easy to forget to back up. Backups don’t seem relevant; your systems can all tick by without them, your workday continues as usual – backups can drop down to the to-do list. That is, if you’ve never had a data disaster before. Anybody who has, tends to make backups priority number 1, because they know precisely how disastrous it can be without proper backups.
Come with me on this journey. You go into work in the morning, it’s a perfectly normal day. Your day’s work lies waiting to be completed however you see fit. You prioritise the client, then you make sure the in-office issue is resolved. You realise that sorting out a backup system for the office has fallen on your shoulders; you start doing research, but an upset client calls in, and they need to be helped right away. After you put the phone down there’s a birthday card to be signed, and then somehow it’s lunch, and there’s still so much to do! The rest of the day is spent hard at work, and the backups are forgotten for another day. It’s OK, you think; you’ll do them when you get a moment.
The next day, disaster strikes just as you get in. Ransomware has infected your assistant’s computer, and it spreads to yours the second you boot it up – it’s already on the network, and one by one every system is locking its user out, demanding payment before allowing re-entry. Every single file is encrypted; the financial records, emails, every project file you have. An emergency meeting is called, and it’s decided that just this once you’ll pay the criminals – you have to! You know that funding them doesn’t help in the long run, but this is a unique case; you need your files back right away. So you pay £300 worth of Bitcoin per computer, it really adds up. Finances this quarter are going to be hell; but it’ll be worse if nobody can work.
The payment goes out…but none of your computers start working again. It dawns on everybody that the company has been swindled for thousands, and all the systems remain down. It takes weeks for the emergency IT contractors to fix systems and replace the hard drives; all this time your colleagues have to use rented laptops and old systems, and everyone is working at a fraction of their usual efficiency.
Finally, your new systems are online. You’ve lost almost all your old files, finance is going to have to fill in their accounts from old printed records, and you’ve got a massive bill from the IT contractor to add to what you already lost to the ransom.
Let’s rewind back to that first day, and say you called a Managed Service Provider over lunch and got a backup system sorted out. Then, when that ransomware hits and your systems go down…You call your MSP, and they restore the backups remotely. You’ve only lost about half an hour.
This is a lesson a lot of businesses have learned: backups are easy to forget – once. Don’t learn that lesson the hard way; make sure your systems are properly backed up today.