Why You May Not Want to Manage Your Own Backups

by Roberta Piket on August 13, 2015

in News

This is a tale of two customers. The first customer contracts with us to manage their backups, keep an eye on their server, and host their email. The second customer likes to handle everything themselves, and only call us when there is a problem.

Both customers recently had a similar situation: data corruption of a particularly important folder. The first customer transferred a virus from their iPhone (where it was harmless) to their desktop computer while backing up their iPhone to their computer using iTunes. The second customer, who doesn’t use business class software, got a corrupt folder while they were using a questionable Windows 7 feature called “Briefcase”.

Usually antivirus software will catch a virus, although even the best AV can miss occasionally. In the case of our first customer, the AV did catch the virus; just not soon enough. Before the AV software caught the virus, it managed to encrypt several shared folders on the server. (This is called “ransomware”. The virus makers will not “decrypt” your files unless you pay them $500 in bitcoin currency.) That night, the encrypted files were backed up to their cloud backup location.

The second customer, the one who doesn’t have us managing their backups, also had their corrupt files copied to the backup location.

So far, the two situations seem similar. Here is where they diverge. We were managing the backups for the first company. We had made sure that they were saving more than one “version” of their files. So instead of overwriting the previous backup, the older backups were still stored. So there were several backups to choose from. We only had to go to the backup previous to the last backup to find versions of the files that had not been encrypted, and the customer was good to go in less than an hour.

The second customer, the one that manages their own backup, lost their files because the backup did not contain previous file versions. It only contained the most recent, corrupt, files. In fact, it was really more of a sync than a true backup.

If you use an online backup service, you should ask their support team if they include “versioning”, and if so, how to turn it on. Or you can contact us to find out more about our affordable backup service.

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