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3-2-1 cybersecurity for 2022: It’s all about data backups

Going beyond the 3-2-1 backup rule will provide organizations with extra insurance to protect their digital transformation initiatives.

A view of the Manhattan skyline from across the East River on December 14, 2021. — © AFP
A view of the Manhattan skyline from across the East River on December 14, 2021. — © AFP

For 2022 businesses need to develop a more sophisticated cybersecurity strategy, focusing on preparedness and remediation capabilities.  According to JG Heithcock, GM of Retrospect, there are three trends that businesses need to be mindful of as 2022 unfolds. He outlines these to Digital Journal.

Ransomware as a service (RaaS)

This is a huge business with attacks continuing to grow at an alarming pace. Businesses at every size are increasingly exposed to ransomware attacks.

Cyber criminals are attacking backups first

The risk here is that once backup systems are under their control, the attention turns to production data. This means that many enterprises are feeling a false sense of security, until it is already too late.

Recovery capabilities

This became the number one ransomware strategy in 2021.The lessons here are that while prevention and detection remain indispensable, recovery capabilities need to become the top priority for firms.

Staying safe

How should businesses be preparing to stay safe? According to Heithcock, it is all about safeguarding data, as he explains: 2In 2022, the 3-2-1 backup rule will continue to be the golden rule of complete data protection. This means that organizations will keep three copies of data saved across at least two media types, with one more copy saved offsite. In 2022, ROI will also remain the name of the game, so organizations will seek a proven solution that makes this easy and affordable to implement.”

In other words: “The ideal backup solution will enable a backup script to a local destination and a backup transfer script to an offsite target. Using a transfer script to copy backups to a second location enables the administrator to perform the operation offline, without the original source needing to be used.”

For implementation, Heithcock explains: “There will be various options available for implementing 3-2-1 workflows. The first possibility will be disk and cloud. Combining local disks and cloud storage locations is a common pattern for a backup strategy. An available backup on a local disk translates into very fast recovery time, as the local network allows for much higher bandwidth. A remote backup on a cloud storage location insulates the organization’s data from disaster, malware, and other problems that arise.”

As an alternative, Heithcock  says: “The second option will be network-attached storage (NAS) and cloud. NAS devices are an affordable on-site storage location for backups. Leveraging an on-site NAS ensures a large, dedicated storage pool and high bandwidth for backups. Transferring those backups to the cloud as an offline process allows administrators to avoid touching the original source multiple times.”

Or, alternatively: “The third option will be disk and tape. Disk remains the most common storage media, and tape continues to make strides in speed and storage capacity. With a local disk, the administrator can quickly back up their environment and have the backups available for fast restore. Using a tape library for offsite storage enables the administrator to store their backups in a safe location (like a security deposit box or a third-party storage locker) that – unlike the cloud – the administrator has physical access to.”

For more robust measures, Heithcock recommends: “Going beyond the 3-2-1 backup rule will provide organizations with extra insurance to protect their digital transformation initiatives. Organizations can choose to utilize a second cloud storage location (i.e., 3-2-2 strategy) or NAS, tape and/or cloud (i.e., 3-3-2 strategy) for added redundancy.”

Heithcock  final advice for firms is: “By utilizing WORM storage in the cloud with Immutable Backups will provide the best protection against ransomware attacks. With a locked backup, malware cannot delete your critical data, enabling the administrator to recover if the worst does happen. By combining the 3-2-1 backup with immutable backups in the cloud, administrators can ensure their organization’s data is protected against the latest threat landscape.”

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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