Encrypted Backup – Is it worth the effort?
Focus on data security and data breach is becoming important. As a consequence; encrypted backup is becoming more popular. However; is it worth the effort?
Listed below are some pros and cons of encrypting backups. Consequently; these should help make a decision on if it’s worth running encrypted backups or not
Encrypted Backup Pro – Data isn’t easily accessible to unauthorized parties.
Encrypted data can’t be accessed by anyone that’s unintended. What this means is if someone steals the backup data they’ll have a very small (unrealistic) chance of gaining access.
Should you use AES-256 encryption; as a result it would take many lifetimes to be able to brute force the password.
Encrypted Backup Con – Forgotten or lost passwords.
If you take a quick look online, it’s easy to find a number of instances where data is password protected – and the password doesn’t work.
– The password was setup by someone else (who isn’t around any longer).
– Forgotten or undocumented passwords
– Corruption caused the password to no longer work
Due to reasons like this; there isn’t any realistic way to recover from the backup if the password doesn’t work.
Encrypted Backup Pro – Easily implemented in the majority of backup solutions
If concerns over encrypting backup data is a requirement; the majority of backup solutions available on the market make it easy to configure within their UI.
Veeam have their best practices guide.
Another alternative you could use is BitLocker to encrypt the backup device.
This automatically unlocks the drive then re-locks once completed.
Encrypted Backup Con – Encrypted source data?
If the backup media could be stolen – the same concerns can be applied to source data or the server room.
Even more common; it’s easy to lose portable devices (laptops, notebooks, tablets and mobile phones).
The source data is as susceptible to unauthorized access as your backups are.
Encrypted Backup Pro – Encryption helps with data compliance
It’s common in many industries that standards and laws around the storage of data are applicable.
GDPR, HIPPA and the various privacy laws across the world are examples of these.
As a result; encrypting data (not just backups) can be an effective (and easy) way to meet compliance requirements.
Encrypted Backup Con – Ransomware is still a threat to the backup data.
Especially relevant; ransomware can infect and compromise encrypted backups. If you’re performing a file level encryption of your backups then ransomware is able to write over this and encrypt the encrypted data (meaning if this is your major reason for encryption then it isn’t fit for purpose).
Unsure if you should encrypt backups or not?
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