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Tip #10 for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Back up your data.

What would happen if your phone and computer were caught in a fire? Would you still have access to your pictures? How much work would you lose?

Nobody wants to be left without precious family memories or critical work documents. The best time to implement a backup strategy is before you need it.

Backing up your data is also a great way to help defend yourself from ransomware attacks, which are attacks that encrypt the files on your computer and require you to make a payment to obtain the private key to decrypt them.

If that’s not bad enough, some cyber criminals will wait until the ransomware completely propagates through your backup cycle. If you restore operating system image or program files that contain the ransomware, it will keep coming back.

If you have your data backed up to an external device or cloud storage, it is easy to simply wipe your hard drive and restore your backed-up data to the drive.

Steps you can take

  1. Follow the 3-2-1 rule: Keep at least 3 copies of your data, store copies on 2 different types of storage and store at least 1 copy offsite.
  2. Encrypt your backups to ensure only you have access to your confidential information. If using an online service like Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive, ensure that only you have access to your confidential information.
  3. Keep all of your important files on a cloud drive and, once a week or so, make a copy of that folder and put it on an external drive. This makes it easy to keep track of stuff, and easy to create backups. Make sure to test your ability to download your content as well to ensure that you can successfully obtain your backed-up content before it’s too late.
  4. Ensure you have a backup copy of just your accounting/ERP system data (not just an image or snapshot of the disk) so you can always recover data to a new operating environment.
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