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Keeping cloud based backups safe

Keeping cloud based backups safe

Are you considering the cloud for backing up your critical files and data? If so, you’re not alone. Cloud based backup solutions are all the rage right now, with offerings baked in to operating systems from Apple, iCloud, Microsoft’s Skydrive, and several other solutions from vendors like Dropbox,, Boxee, Mozy, and others. Whether you are considering cloud based backup as a personal solution, or as an aspect of your enterprise business continuity and disaster recovery plan, you want to make certain that you understand what using a cloud based solution means, and to make sure you appropriate measures to safeguard your data.

Read your Ts & Cs

The terms and conditions of your chosen service lay out many important details of the service, including what you are and are not entitled to as well as the service provider’s limitations of liability. While all of the services listed above, and many more besides, are reputable and honest, they are also businesses whose objective is to make a profit. There’s nothing wrong with that, but make sure you know exactly what you are and are not getting by reading the terms and conditions.

Use Encryption

Encrypt your data uploads, encrypt your data downloads, and encrypt your data at rest. Don’t just rely upon your service provider’s encryption, use your own encryption mechanisms to safeguard your data. If the data you upload to the cloud is encrypted, you don’t need to worry about any inappropriate or unauthorized access to your data. Your service provider is responsible for protecting your data, but it is your data, and ultimately your responsibility to secure.

Safeguard your keys

But if you are going to encrypt your data, safeguard your keys, and I don’t mean by backing them up to the same cloud storage you are using to backup your data. If your keys are compromised, others can access your data, and if your keys are lost, no one can access your data, not even you.

Syncs wait for no one

Many online backups use background syncs to move data to the cloud, and operate continuously or when triggered by changes. That means deletes, malware infections, and changes sync immediately. That’s different from traditional point in time backups that can be restored from a point in time too. Some of the services offer the ability to recover previous versions of files which is a good way to work around any accidents.

Backup your backups

Remember those Ts & Cs? If the only two copies of your critical data are on your system and your cloud provider, and lightning strikes twice, you’re out of luck. Can lightning strike twice? Just ask anyone whose RAID 5 array suffered two drive failures before they got around to replacing the first one. You don’t need to back up every single file every single day, but the ones that are absolutely critical should be copied to another local server regularly to ensure that you have a fallback position, just in case.

Follow these steps to keep your cloud based backups safe and secure.

This article was written by Casper Manes on behalf of IT Channel Insight, a site for MSPs and Channel partners where you can find other related articles to managed it services.

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