W. Curtis Preston

Author Archives: W. Curtis Preston

Make sure your laptop backups can handle ransomware

With increasingly mobile workforces, it’s important to effectively backup corporate data that resides on laptops, which requires a unique set of features not found in traditional backup systems used for desktops attached to corporate LANs.Laptops have all the functionality of desktops, but are readily lost or stolen, have limited bandwidth for connectivity to corporate resources, and can spend unpredictable spans of time disconnected or turned off. So it’s important to find backup options that meet these challenges, which can also include ransomware attacks.Backup lessons from a cloud-storage disaster Backing up laptops properly also makes upgrading them much easier, especially in the world of remote work. A good backup system can restore a user’s profile and data, and makes replacing a laptop much simpler for both the IT department and the person whose laptop is being replaced. With the right system in place, all you have to do is ship them a new laptop.  They can restore their own profile and data without IT intervention, saving time, effort, and a lot of money.To read this article in full, please click here

Make sure your laptop backups can handle ransomware

With increasingly mobile workforces, it’s important to effectively backup corporate data that resides on laptops, which requires a unique set of features not found in traditional backup systems used for desktops attached to corporate LANs.Laptops have all the functionality of desktops, but are readily lost or stolen, have limited bandwidth for connectivity to corporate resources, and can spend unpredictable spans of time disconnected or turned off. So it’s important to find backup options that meet these challenges, which can also include ransomware attacks.Backup lessons from a cloud-storage disaster Backing up laptops properly also makes upgrading them much easier, especially in the world of remote work. A good backup system can restore a user’s profile and data, and makes replacing a laptop much simpler for both the IT department and the person whose laptop is being replaced. With the right system in place, all you have to do is ship them a new laptop.  They can restore their own profile and data without IT intervention, saving time, effort, and a lot of money.To read this article in full, please click here

Backup lessons from a cloud-storage disaster

The largest cloud provider based in Europe, OVHcloud, suffered a catastrophic fire last month that destroyed one of its data centers and smoke-damaged a neighboring one. OVHcloud customers with data in the burned-out data cener who had their own disaster recovery measures in place or who purchased the off-site backup and disaster-recovery services offered by OVHcloud have been able to resume operations. Those who did not lost data that will never come back.Some losses were complete, such as those described on Twitter by rounq.com who is still waiting for backups and redundancy that he thought were already in place, according to his tweets. Companies that had some type of off-site backup seemed to be up and running again, such as Centre PompidouTo read this article in full, please click here

Backup lessons from a cloud-storage disaster

The largest cloud provider based in Europe, OVHcloud, suffered a catastrophic fire last month that destroyed one of its data centers and smoke-damaged a neighboring one. OVHcloud customers with data in the burned-out data cener who had their own disaster recovery measures in place or who purchased the off-site backup and disaster-recovery services offered by OVHcloud have been able to resume operations. Those who did not lost data that will never come back.Some losses were complete, such as those described on Twitter by rounq.com who is still waiting for backups and redundancy that he thought were already in place, according to his tweets. Companies that had some type of off-site backup seemed to be up and running again, such as Centre PompidouTo read this article in full, please click here

Ransomware: How to make sure backups are ready for a real attack

The best way to avoid paying ransom to attackers who have infected your systems with ransomware is to have those systems adequately backed up so you can wipe them and restore them from safe backups. Here are several options for making sure those backups are up to the task.In this article, backup refers to any system that you're going to use to respond to a ransomware attack, including old-school backup systems, replication systems, and modern hybrid systems that support backup and disaster recover. For simplicity’s sake, they’ll all be referred to as backup here. More about backup and recovery:To read this article in full, please click here

Ransomware: How to make sure backups are ready for a real attack

The best way to avoid paying ransom to attackers who have infected your systems with ransomware is to have those systems adequately backed up so you can wipe them and restore them from safe backups. Here are several options for making sure those backups are up to the task.In this article, backup refers to any system that you're going to use to respond to a ransomware attack, including old-school backup systems, replication systems, and modern hybrid systems that support backup and disaster recover. For simplicity’s sake, they’ll all be referred to as backup here. More about backup and recovery:To read this article in full, please click here

Ransomware: How to make sure backups are ready for a real attack

The best way to avoid paying ransom to attackers who have infected your systems with ransomware is to have those systems adequately backed up so you can wipe them and restore them from safe backups. Here are several options for making sure those backups are up to the task.In this article, backup refers to any system that you're going to use to respond to a ransomware attack, including old-school backup systems, replication systems, and modern hybrid systems that support backup and disaster recover. For simplicity’s sake, they’ll all be referred to as backup here. More about backup and recovery:To read this article in full, please click here

How to protect backups from ransomware

Ransomware is becoming the number one threat to data, which makes it essential to ensure that bad actors don’t encrypt your backup data along with your primary data when they execute ransomware attacks. If they succeed at that, you will have no choice but to pay the ransom, and that will encourage them to try it again.The key to not having to pay ransom is having the backups to restore systems that ransomware has encrypted. And the key to protecting those backups from ransomware is to put as many barriers as you can between production systems and backup systems. Whatever you do, make sure that the only copy of your backups is not simply sitting in a directory on a Windows server in the same data center you are trying to protect. Let’s take a closer look at a few key elements of that sentence: “Windows”, “same data center”, and “sitting in a directory”.To read this article in full, please click here

Disaster recovery lessons from an island struck by a hurricane

(A hurricane devastated an island that held two data centers controlling mission-critical systems for an American biotech company. They flew a backup expert with four decades of experience to the island on a corporate jet to save the day. This is the story of the challenges he faced and how he overcame them. He spoke on the condition of anonymity, so we call him Ron, the island Atlantis, his employer Initech, and we don’t name the vendors and service providers involved.)Initech had two data centers on Atlantis with a combined 400TB of data running on approximately 200 virtual and physical machines. The backup system was based on a leading traditional backup software vendor, and it backed up to a target deduplication disk system. Each data center backed up to its own local deduplication system and then replicated its backups to the disk system in the other data center. This meant that each datacenter had an entire copy of all Initech’s backups on Atlantis, so even if one data center were destroyed the company would still have all its data.To read this article in full, please click here

Disaster recovery lessons from an island struck by a hurricane

(A hurricane devastated an island that held two data centers controlling mission-critical systems for an American biotech company. They flew a backup expert with four decades of experience to the island on a corporate jet to save the day. This is the story of the challenges he faced and how he overcame them. He spoke on the condition of anonymity, so we call him Ron, the island Atlantis, his employer Initech, and we don’t name the vendors and service providers involved.)Initech had two data centers on Atlantis with a combined 400TB of data running on approximately 200 virtual and physical machines. The backup system was based on a leading traditional backup software vendor, and it backed up to a target deduplication disk system. Each data center backed up to its own local deduplication system and then replicated its backups to the disk system in the other data center. This meant that each datacenter had an entire copy of all Initech’s backups on Atlantis, so even if one data center were destroyed the company would still have all its data.To read this article in full, please click here

Facts about backup security that should scare you to death

Least privilege—the idea that each person in your organization should have the least number of privileges they need in order to accomplish a given task—is an important security concept that needs to be implemented in your backup system.The challenge here is that network, system, and backup admins all wield an incredible amount of power. If one of them makes a mistake, or worse, intentionally tries to do the company harm, limiting the amount of power they have reduces the amount of damage they can inflict.For example, you might give one network administrator the ability to monitor networks, and another one the ability to create and/or reconfigure networks. Security admins might be responsible for creating and maintaining network-administration users without getting any of those privileges themselves.To read this article in full, please click here

Facts about backup security that should scare you to death

Least privilege—the idea that each person in your organization should have the least number of privileges they need in order to accomplish a given task—is an important security concept that needs to be implemented in your backup system.The challenge here is that network, system, and backup admins all wield an incredible amount of power. If one of them makes a mistake, or worse, intentionally tries to do the company harm, limiting the amount of power they have reduces the amount of damage they can inflict.For example, you might give one network administrator the ability to monitor networks, and another one the ability to create and/or reconfigure networks. Security admins might be responsible for creating and maintaining network-administration users without getting any of those privileges themselves.To read this article in full, please click here

Backing up databases is critical and complex

Databases, also referred to as structured data, are an essential part of any data center. While databases do not typically hold a high percentage of the terabytes housed in a given data center, they do hold a high percentage of mission-critical data. Understanding their unique structure and operation is key to backing them up.Structured data cannot be backed up like unstructured data due to three very big challenges. First, databases are typically stored in datafiles that are constantly changing as long as something is making updates to the database. This means you cannot just back them up like any other file.To read this article in full, please click here

Backing up databases is critical and complex

Databases, also referred to as structured data, are an essential part of any data center. While databases do not typically hold a high percentage of the terabytes housed in a given data center, they do hold a high percentage of mission-critical data. Understanding their unique structure and operation is key to backing them up.Structured data cannot be backed up like unstructured data due to three very big challenges. First, databases are typically stored in datafiles that are constantly changing as long as something is making updates to the database. This means you cannot just back them up like any other file.To read this article in full, please click here

Should you upgrade tape drives to the latest standard?

With the recent release of the linear tape–open 9 (LTO-9) standard, tape drives with increased capacity and speed should be available soon, but that doesn’t mean users of tape drives should rush to buy them.Here are some of the pros and cons to weigh when considering whether an upgrade is in order.Tape drives are a very reliable way to write data to storage, and are very good at holding onto data for multiple decades. They make an excellent medium for long-term storage and for shipping large amounts of data across long distances (a FedEx truck has unlimited bandwidth).[Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters.] What tape is not good at is going slow. LTO-8 has a compressed transfer speed of 900MB/s, which is significantly faster than most any backup you're going to send to it. It's definitely faster than any incremental backup that will be sent to it, and that comprises most backups. That makes tapes as the initial target of backups problematic.To read this article in full, please click here

Should you upgrade tape drives to the latest standard?

With the recent release of the linear tape–open 9 (LTO-9) standard, tape drives with increased capacity and speed should be available soon, but that doesn’t mean users of tape drives should rush to buy them.Here are some of the pros and cons to weigh when considering whether an upgrade is in order.Tape drives are a very reliable way to write data to storage, and are very good at holding onto data for multiple decades. They make an excellent medium for long-term storage and for shipping large amounts of data across long distances (a FedEx truck has unlimited bandwidth).[Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters.] What tape is not good at is going slow. LTO-8 has a compressed transfer speed of 900MB/s, which is significantly faster than most any backup you're going to send to it. It's definitely faster than any incremental backup that will be sent to it, and that comprises most backups. That makes tapes as the initial target of backups problematic.To read this article in full, please click here

How to make sure data that should be backed up gets backed up

There is no sadder moment in the backup world than finding out the file or database you need to restore has never been backed up. Understanding how systems, directories, and databases are included in the backup system is the key to making sure this never happens to you.The first step toward this goal is making sure that servers and services you want backed up are registered with your backup-and-recovery system.[Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters.] For example, if you start using a new SaaS such as Salesforce, no backup system will automatically notice that addition and start backing it up for you. If you are fully virtualized on VMware, the systems will automatically notice if you add a new node to the configuration. But if you start using Hyper-V or KVM, no backup system will automatically notice there is a new hypervisor in the data center and start backing it up. And of course your backup system will not notice you installed a new physical server.To read this article in full, please click here

How to make sure data that should be backed up gets backed up

There is no sadder moment in the backup world than finding out the file or database you need to restore has never been backed up. Understanding how systems, directories, and databases are included in the backup system is the key to making sure this never happens to you.The first step toward this goal is making sure that servers and services you want backed up are registered with your backup-and-recovery system.[Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters.] For example, if you start using a new SaaS such as Salesforce, no backup system will automatically notice that addition and start backing it up for you. If you are fully virtualized on VMware, the systems will automatically notice if you add a new node to the configuration. But if you start using Hyper-V or KVM, no backup system will automatically notice there is a new hypervisor in the data center and start backing it up. And of course your backup system will not notice you installed a new physical server.To read this article in full, please click here

How to backup essential data but not the garbage

Something as simple as how you tell your backup product which files and databases to backup can have a massive impact on your recoverability. Proper backup selection is essentially a balance between ensuring that everything that should be backed up is indeed backed up, while also trying not to backup worthless data.Physical server inclusion Virtually all backup products require some initial installation and configuration at the level of a physical server. This means that for any of the tactics mentioned in this article to work, one must first install the appropriate software and authorization on each physical server in the data center. This means every VMware or Hyper-V server (not to be confused with each VM on those servers), every physical UNIX or Windows server, and any cloud services that are being backed up. Someone must make that initial connection and authentication before the backup system can perform its magic.To read this article in full, please click here

How synthetic full backup works and why you might need it

The invention of synthetic full backups is one of the most important advancements in backup technology in the last few decades, right up there witih disk-based backups, deduplication, continuous data protection (CDP), and the cloud.Here’s how they came to be and an explanation of what benefits they might offer.[Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters.] Traditional backup options There are essentially two very broad categories of what the backup industry calls backup levels;you are either backing up everything (full backup) or you are backing up only what has changed (incremental backup). There are different types of incremental backups, but that's really not relevant to this particular discussion. A typical set up runs incremental backups every night and full backups every week – or even less often than that.To read this article in full, please click here

1 2 3