What’s Your Backup Plan for Clients?

Looking at Alternatives to 3-2-1

In the world of computer backup plans, the standard has long been 3-2-1, which is having three copies of data on two different media with one copy stored off-site. That seems like a good plan, in principle, but with more and more ransomware attacks taking place, it’s a good time to explore some more robust options to protect your important data.

So why is the 3-2-1 strategy failing? Well, for starters, technology has advanced leaps and bounds since the 3-2-1 backup strategy was introduced. Back then, the go-to was tape backups. These were solid, inexpensive options, where you could store copies in another location. Then, along came the cloud.

Cloud storage has grown exponentially since 2009 and led to many companies to stop storing tape drives in secure, off-site locations. This strategy is helpful in cases of natural disasters or accidental deletion of files but using the cloud as part of your 3-2-1 is not without its problems.

“In the past, we had what was called an air-gapped solution, where basically the off-site backups, which were on tape, were physically separated from the network and often stored off-site in some vault location. Those tapes were disconnected, or immutable, so a hacker couldn’t go and access or change that data. As cloud networks are often connected to production networks, they have greater exposure to digital attacks.”

– David Papp, Chief Technology Officer, MSP Corp

Ransomware has been slowly on the rise, and attacks have even increased during the pandemic, as the many high-profile ransomware incidents in this past year will attest. As a result, your current backup strategies need to be bolstered to protect your vital data. David Papp says that reintroducing the concept of air-gapping is why employing a 3-2-1-1-0 strategy makes good sense. Using a 3-2-1-1-0 strategy means keeping three copies of business data; storing your data on at least two different media; keeping one copy off-site, keeping another copy off-line (air-gapped); and then testing all your backups to confirm zero errors.

“Ransomware can attack your data, and not only that, if it makes its way across your network to where your backup data is you’re in big trouble because those backup copies are also connected and accessible to the attack.”

– David Papp, Chief Technology Officer, MSP Corp

Another strategy to consider is adding a layer of protection of going to a 4-3-2 strategy, with four copies of your data, stored in three locations, including the cloud, and in two off-site locations. However, Papp feels the “-0” (testing your backups for zero errors) is super important along with immutability for any plan you follow.

The Veeam Solution

It’s clear that the current 3-2-1 backup strategy isn’t good enough anymore. More vigorous backups are needed, and one solution is Veeam due to its support for immutability, or air-gapping, and providing an actual physical distance between your network and your backups. Veeam is worth considering as part of your backup strategy as it not only provides backups, but also replication software. The software is capable of restoring data, as well as replicating it on virtual machines.

“Veeam supports a feature called Object Lock, which prevents files from being altered or deleted till a certain date in the future. It cannot be altered, encrypted or deleted by ransomware attacks.”

– David Papp, Chief Technology Officer, MSP Corp

Veeam is compatible with VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V and can offer a less than 15 minute recovery time for all applications depending on your set-up.

There is also a cloud offering where the software is fully integrated into the cloud and has become a key tool for MSP’s.

The Datto Solution

As organizations migrate their services to the cloud (e.g. Microsoft 365), you need to consider protecting that data against ransomware or virus damage, accidental user deletions and data overwrites, lost data due to cancelled account subscriptions, or misbehaving application workflows.   

Cloud-based application data is very vulnerable with 1 in 3 companies reporting lost data that is gone forever. Scary. Remember being in the cloud does not mean it’s backed up, that is your responsibility.

Datto automatically backs up your Microsoft 365 emails and contacts, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams channels & files. This is becoming ever so more important as Teams gets adopted deeper into organizations and becoming an attack vector for outsiders.  Also, great to deploy for desktops and laptops where your workforce isn’t diligent about storing everything in the cloud or is working from home.

Review your backup strategy now!

One thing is certain, you need a backup strategy. Any backup strategy! Secondly, your backup strategy needs to keep pace with, if not stay ahead of, the threats that exist out there.

MSP Corp understands that you’ve worked hard to build your business and you want to protect it. With a mission to be a world-class business partner for MSP owners across Canada, we actively seek to acquire and partner with owners looking to secure the value of the business they have built and provide a seamless exit process that ensures business continuity and employee and client stability.

Contact us today to learn more about selling your business and maximizing its value.

Backup Strategy Tips

  • Keep multiple copies of your data—at least three.
  • Store copies of your data in geographically separate locations.
  • Use more than one kind of storage media.
  • Keep at least one copy on-site for quick recoveries.
  • Test your backups to confirm zero errors.