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- Ensure your security policies (right from access controls to physical security to system monitoring) include backup-related systems within their scope.
- Include your data backup systems in your disaster recovery and incident response plans.
- Assign backup software access rights only to those who have a business need to be involved in the backup process. Be sure not to overlook any Web-based interfaces that provide backup access and keep your original backup software media secured as well.
- Store your backups offsite or at least in another building: often ignored but most important!
- However you choose to store your backups - be it on tape, network-attached storage, or external drives - be sure to control access to the room/car/house in which the backups stored. Handle your backup media as you would any other critical hardware.
- Use a fireproof and media-rated safe. Many people store their backups in a "fireproof" safe, but typically one that's only rated for paper storage. Don't do this!!
- Find out the security measures that your vendors for offsite storage, data center and courier services are taking to ensure that your backups remain safe in their hands.
- Password-protect your backups at a minimum. Passwords aren't foolproof because some people with special skills and tools may be able to crack the code, but it is a level of security that should be considered. However, password-protection, at least, provides a layer of security.
- Encrypt your backups if your software and hardware support it. Encryption implemented and managed in the right way serves as an excellent last layer of defense. It also helps provide peace of mind knowing that the worst outcome is that you'll have to buy new backup media - especially when it comes to compliance and data breach notifications.
- Your backups are only as good as what's on the backup media. There are two sides to this coin. First, make sure your backing up everything that's important. Second, test your backups occasionally - especially if you're using tape.
Source: Excerpts from an article by Kevin Beaver, an independent information security consultant, published in TechTarget