Expert Blog: Database Backup Security – A Beginner’s Guide

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Today, data is critical to ensure an organization’s growth and production continuity. Organizations generate, process, and store large volumes of data to keep up with the continuously evolving digital landscape.

In 2023, organizations of all types and sizes are collecting huge volumes of data, aiming to provide deeply personalized, convenient, and up-to-date services to customers. Organizations demand databases to become faster and increase their capacity. The main point is that losing a database is a huge risk to an organization’s existence in most cases.

Alex Tray
Author: Alex Tray

In the ‘Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022,’ IBM admits that the average cost of a data breach reached $4.35 million last year. Once the data is lost after a disaster, an organization can suffer from devastating repercussions that could last for months or even years. Without database backups, infrastructure recovery and stability provisioning can be challenging due to app failures and downtime causing additional data losses.

In some cases, organizations frequently overlook database backups entirely. Additionally, some IT specialists postpone implementing backup workflows while prioritizing production tasks. Still, the need to develop a comprehensive backup plan and set up efficient backup security becomes more crucial as an organization expands its operations and infrastructure.

Both small organizations and enterprises may require a centralized solution, such as the NAKIVO Nutanix Backup solution, to protect their database backups and environments while ensuring swift recovery when required. Read this post to learn the best practices that help you increase your database backup security.

1. Use the Cloud

Cloud-based data storage is reliable and efficient. A cloud backup storage platform is accessible from any place with an internet connection, thus you can manage and use data backups whenever you need. Additionally, cloud storage providers usually care about the security of their services.

Cloud storage can offer enough space to keep an organization’s data, while the modern backup solution can help you enable backup automation to increase efficiency. Moreover, you can use the solution’s security capabilities together with those of a cloud storage service, thus boosting backup protection and overall system reliability.

2. Enable Backup Encryption

Encrypting production data is a normal practice to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data records. However, security specialists tend to forget about backup data encryption. Thus, hackers can target backup transfer workflows or storage repositories to steal the data.

Turning your backup data into a hard-to-crack code creates an additional protection layer, posing a serious challenge for hackers targeting customers’ personal data such as banking numbers, credit card data, or social security numbers. Modern cloud services can encrypt the data on their own, but you can pick a comprehensive backup solution with the appropriate encryption feature for additional security.

Modern solutions can encrypt backup data in flight (during transfer) and at rest (throughout the entire storage period). Solutions using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES 256) provide up-to-date backup protection against third-party access.

3. Restrict Access Rights

While setting access rights to data backups for employees, an IT specialist must be thorough and careful. Restricting access to data efficiently decreases the chance of data loss or corruption after a human error or insider attack.

With modern data protection solutions, you can, for example, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) to add a protection layer to the standard login process. Another feature in the NAKIVO solution is Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) which allows you to configure backup access rights for employee groups, thus simplifying management workflows. Applying the principle of least privilege with these backup access restriction features is an efficient way to enhance database backup security.

4. Track Backups

Organizations should keep and regularly update their data backup logs. Take note of your backups and their creation dates, monitor the existing database backups, and test their recoverability regularly. The worst time to find out that the backup is unrecoverable is when the original data is already lost.

Tracking backups thoroughly can help you keep control over the security of your data. Additionally, precise knowledge of what data is stored and where means shorter reaction time and faster recovery in emergency situations, resulting in minimal downtime.

5. Use Multiple Storage Types

With the growing popularity of cloud storage services, some may think that physical storage is a legacy solution that is bound to die out in the near future. However, when speaking of database backup security, physical storage has one undisputed advantage: physical storage is offline storage. When internet access is lost, a regular driver of a backup server can still enable data recovery.

Additionally, on-site storage is the most suitable choice to minimize downtime, as copying the data from physical disks that are directly attached to an organization’s server is faster than any recovery involving cloud services. Finally, you can easily turn physical disks into air-gapped backup storage, which is highly secure and perfectly suitable for long-term data archiving purposes.

Last but not least, it is important to mention the reliable 3-2-1 backup rule. According to the rule, you need to create at least three (3) copies of data on two (2) different storage media with one (1) backup copy kept off site or in the cloud. If you abide by this rule, you always have a data copy on site for swift recovery and two other copies to maintain control over critical data in case the main backup is down after, for example, a ransomware attack.

Keep Data Backups Secure

To ensure the security of your data and support production continuity, implementing regular database backup workflows into your IT environment is a must. However, simply starting to create backups is insufficient. You also need to think over the approach to backup storage and security.

Cloud storage offers numerous advantages in terms of security and convenience. Using cloud storage, you can access backup data whenever you need from anywhere. Backup encryption and access restriction help with preventing unauthorized access to sensitive data and reduce the probability of data loss due to human error or insider threats. Tracking your backups can ensure data integrity and recoverability. Finally, consider sending backup copies to different storage locations to keep up with the 3-2-1 rule and always have a functioning backup.