As we have been repeatedly reporting over the past few weeks, there has been a surge in ransomware attacks, targeting businesses, healthcare organizations and everyday computer owners (including Mac users). Cyber criminals have found that they can make thousands of dollars quite easily by encrypting their victim’s data and holding it for ransom. Victims have no choice but to cough up the money, not knowing if the hacker will stay true to their word and decrypt the data.
However, there is another path that you can take now to protect yourself. You can backup your data. Imagine losing all of your information. For individuals, this can be emotionally devastating. Photos, documents, music, and everything that you hold near and dear would be gone unless you pay the ransom. Imagine your entire digital life being destroyed in a matter of minutes. For companies, this can destroy you. Not only would you have to pay thousands of dollars to regain control, but you would also face legal ramifications and permanent loss of customer trust.
If you have a full backup of your data, you can laugh in the face of hackers. The effort and high cost of regaining data after a ransomware attack can be avoided entirely. When you have multiple backups, it may take some effort to put the puzzle pieces back together, but you won’t have to pay the hacker or deal with the stress of the attack. You may lose the document you started working on this morning but you won’t lose everything else.
In order to have a complete, thorough backup, we recommend backing up data in at least 3 (if not more) places. You will want a local copy of data, a local external backup, and an offsite cloud backup.
The local copy of data are the original files that live on your computer or laptop. A local external backup usually means you have an external hard drive or server in which you regularly update your files. External drives come in many sizes and styles. With most of them, you must physically tether a USB cord between the drive and your computer to copy files. With others, you can transfer files over the network. A local external drive is important, however you may still lose some files if you fail to backup your computer regularly.
That is why you need an automatic cloud backup solution. Every new file that is saved to your computer is automatically backed up to the cloud (unless you specifically tell it not to). In the event of a ransomware attack, you will unlikely lose any data and you will be able to recover the data easily. An offsite backup is also important in the event of power surges, floods, fires, theft, etc. If someone steals your computer, they will probably also steal your external hard drive if it is sitting nearby. However, your files will be safe in the cloud.
The cloud backup solution that we recommend is Carbonite. They have affordable plans for both businesses and individuals. You get unlimited storage, continuous backups, and access to your files from anywhere - even your mobile device. In the event of a ransomware attack, it’s easy to recover your files.
If someone decides to hit you with a ransomware attack and you have your files securely backed up to multiple locations, you can say “no thanks,” and get on with your life.