So we are told by the “IT Guys” all the time to backup our work, make sure you take a backup! But do we listen?
Coming from a background of IT support I tend to find that people answer that question with either a flat NO! or yeah I will, I just haven’t got round to it. Lets face it backups don’t give us anything back, they aren’t fun to do, we all have busy lives and who even knows of someone that needed one anyway?
Well yesterday a customer of ours got their websites hacked, I may say this wasn’t hosted with us. However they called us up and said our websites have disappeared and been replaced by the following image.
This particular customer runs around 6 websites, a couple business and a couple of personal blogs. All 6 had been compromised. Whilst we don’t host the website for the customer, we do take care of all of their IT requirements. Thankfully we had a backup. The hackers had deleted everything and replaced with the above image.
We managed to restore the websites, patched the hole and all was well with the world again.
Imagine if there hadn’t been a backup, 6 websites gone, all the blog posts, the content of the websites, the damage to the brand whilst the websites were down, etc.
We are seeing more and more political activists or “hactivists” taking down random users websites, websites you would think aren’t of any significance to them. It causes a lot of stress and worry for the owners of the websites.
Please ensure you are taking backups, not only of your pen drive, your computer but also your online world. We rely so heavily on “The Cloud” now, it is seen as a safe haven. Make sure you are also backing up your cloud storage and internet world.
So what can we do? So many things to backup!
Lets start with the top down, make sure you take a backup relatively often of your websites, most hosting providers give you a link to backup, but failing that drag a copy to a folder on your desktop via FTP software, if the website uses a database click export and save that file in the same folder.
Do you use cloud based storage? Drop box, Google Drive, iCloud etc? Firstly as an aside I wouldn’t personally store anything on the cloud that was confidential or private, you never know who could get access. Take copies of all the data on your cloud storage and again pop them in a folder on the desktop.
Now that we have copies of our online world locally, lets move to pen drives. We all tend to have several of these kicking about now. Most of us don’t use them for file transfer, instead we keep our lives on them and trust them implicitly. These things are very volatile and can easily break, be lost or stolen. Again be aware of what you are putting on them and consider using encryption software to keep them safe. Take copies of all of your pen drives drop them in another folder on the desktop.
By now we have copies hopefully of everything external to our computer. So everything is in two places apart from the contents of the computer. Well that is a good plan as there isn’t a single point of failure for any of that data now. Next up we advise you invest in an external hard drive. These can be picked up now for less than £50, again I would look at a level of encryption on the disk as it is going to contain a copy of everything. Then simply take a copy of the folders from the desktop and pop them onto the external disk. In addition make copies of your documents, pictures, music, etc. Anything on your computer that you would want back in the event of an issue.
You can also backup favourites, emails and calendar entries should you wish.
How often do we recommend you do a backup? Ideally daily, data changes so fast, we create and modify so much each day. Is this practical? No of course not. Once a week would be nice if not once a month. It all boils down to how valuable your data is to you. If you lost the last months worth of work but had everything else would it be the end of the world, if so backup more often, if not then monthly is ample.
There is another option, once you have backed up your online world and pen drives to your computer. If you are using an Apple Mac, why not invest in a Time Capsule No i’m not talking Dr Who. The Time Capsule is a great piece of kit, once setup it will automatically sync your data as you are working away. Keeping an up to date backup. Using the Time Machine software you can restore files from a few hours ago. Really worth looking into.
I think in schools we often rely on someone else to take care of the backups, you would be surprised how little is backed up, sure your documents and shared folders you would expect are backed up nightly. However them items you stick on your desktop for safe keeping? No. Your pen drives? No. What if the schools backup didn’t run last night.
Don’t depend on others to look after your data. Take action using the above steps to ensure you are covered in the event of the worst.
If you would like to discuss and of the issues we have mentioned here, or if you have any other ICT requirements then please contact Kyle or Gary via firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on 0161 850 1117 or message us via Facebook or Twitter and we’ll be happy to help.