Offsite backups are critical to protecting your business’s data from a variety of threats. Fire, flood, break-ins, and natural disasters could mean that your primary business location sustained major damage that could destroy servers and on-site backups. Having an offsite backup protects you against these possibilities, allowing you to get back online and start recovering more quickly.
Offsite backups can take different forms, including portable external hard drives, magnetic tapes, or secure file transfers via the internet. In any form, these backups pose a unique security threat. As your data is no longer protected in the confines of your office location, it can more easily be targeted by thieves, whether they know what they’re stealing or not.
Retired backup media is another threat vector that must be considered. Media that is being swapped out due to age or failure still contains data that could fall into unauthorized hands.
So what steps can you take to protect your offsite backups from data theft?
Encrypt, Encrypt, Encrypt
All data leaving your facility should be encrypted with a strong key that is itself protected from theft. Of course without this key, your backups won’t be of any use in a disaster, so the key itself needs to be securely stored off-site as well. But this should be done as securely as possible, and the encryption key should never be stored along with the backups while they’re in transit.
Rotate and Dispose of Old Backup Media
When it comes time to swap out drives or tapes used for external backups, have a plan for how to dispose of your old backup media. Drives and tapes need to be securely wiped, shredded, or degaussed to ensure that none of your data is readable. This is especially true of devices that have stopped working. Even though they may not be readable by normal means, a determined attacker could still get data off of them. So have them shredded or degaussed before disposing of them.
CyberCrunch can help you with your backup media disposal needs. We offer scheduled pickups, secure deposit bins, and mail-back service to give you the flexibility you need in disposing of your old data. Contact us today for a free data destruction quote.