Sep 01

Your Top 10 Security Steps to Protect Your Data, Part 6

6. Back up databases and other important files
Develop plans for restoring data, including alternate sites and systems to run business-critical information services. A current backup can help you recover from a situation where someone loses the administrator account information for a file, or from a situation where user error (and sometimes bad database design) causes data to be deleted or modified inappropriately.
Keep the following in mind:
•Host databases with a  server if possible, and create regularly-scheduled, automated backups.
For example, make local backups of files at 6:00 am, 9:00 am, 12:00 noon, 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm, and 11:30 pm weekdays. At midnight, make an incremental backup of the entire system to the enterprise backup system. Finally, Friday night at midnight, perform a full system backup. Copy and store the backup tapes at a remote location. This way, if the server goes down for some reason other than catastrophic failure of multiple drives, the more recent backup of the data files can be used, meaning only a maximum of 3 hours of lost data.
If there is a catastrophic drive failure, then the previous evening’s tape can be used, minimizing the loss to one day’s data. These procedures can be tailored to your situation and data value. The more valuable the information, and how frequently it is update, the more busy the system, the more frequent the update.
•Make sure backup copies aren’t damaged or inaccessible. Verify that they are functioning properly before you need them. Run diagnostic tools on your hard drive and your backup files regularly.
•Ensure that you can restore an entire set of files from backup copies.
•Regularly export the data to protect against file corruption.
•Protect the backup media itself. Store backups in a separate and fire-proof location.
•Assign backup administrators who can retrieve files, in case the network administrator is unavailable.
•Plan for redundancy. If the power goes off, a universal power supply (UPS) should sustain power for at least 15 minutes, enabling you to safely close all files. If the power can’t be restored in a timely fashion, consider using a generator to supply power to servers.
Also consider power sources for routers and firewalls. Will communication be a problem if your Internet access is interrupted for 48 hours or longer? In most companies these days, this would be a disaster, so plan ahead accordingly.
Consider how you will continue to provide services if an intruder takes down your database server, and that server can’t be restored to its previous condition.
•Evaluate additional worst case scenarios that could occur, and create a plan to respond to each one.
Continued in Part 7

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