USB Drives

 In IT Managed Support, IT Tips, Security

USB hard drive back up warning

As intrusive cyber-attacks continue to rise, the old way of backing up data via USB drives has become an enormous vulnerability point for businesses.

Here is why…

Many businesses continue to plug in a USB drive at the end of the working day, sometimes rotating a few during the week, leaving the backup to perform its duty overnight. If a nefarious cyber-attack were to infect the server, the intrusive attack will encrypt the server drives and all external drives attached to it- i.e. the USB back up drive. The very item being used to provide a backup will also be encrypted and a whole day of work or many days (depending on drive rotation method used) will be lost.

What you can do

Firstly, use backup software that can incrementally back up – so only daily changes are copied; this is considerably quicker than a whole server infrastructure back up every night. You could then attach the drive and wait for the back up drive to perform its role, not leaving it attached to the server overnight. Once completed remove the USB drive from the server and take it off site. The data will be vulnerable only whilst the USB drive is directly attached.

What you should do

We recommend at the very least to use a local network attached storage (NAS) device with incremental backup software to back up the company’s data to it, thus if a cyber-attack occurs the backup is not physically attached to the server. The NAS becomes the first point of recovery.

Next, the data can be encrypted and sent off-site (to Integer IT or elsewhere). The data is backed up 3 times a day, so in the event of a physical disaster (flood, fire, etc) there is a safe copy of your data available which considerably reduces the time of recovery.  Additionally, if your data is hosted with Integer IT, we perform a test recovery every 12 months – ideal for kicking goals at audit or compliance time in many industries. This method also eliminates the possibility of human error whereby a staff member might forget to take the data off-site.  We schedule the data transfer and monitor to ensure that it works every day.


If you want to know more, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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