The current technological environment is supported by an incalculably vast volume of data, which must be safeguarded against loss, corruption, and illegal access.
Although traditional cloud backup solutions have been beneficial in this way, the reality is that data loss events continue to be widespread, and cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated, so a change in the backup strategy is needed. Immutable backup addresses the shortcomings of traditional backup by providing tamper-proof, ever-evolving approaches that meet standard data protection demands.
In this immutable backup explained, let us go through everything you should know about immutable backup.
Table of Contents
What Exactly Is Immutable Backup?
An immutable backup solution's data is tamper-proof, which means it cannot be changed, erased, or rewritten. Immutable backup stores data in a read-only format, preventing write rights and ensuring data cannot be modified.
Immutable backups may be duplicated over numerous storage media, and several copies of data may be preserved for auditing and version control. They may also provide very safe data protection using modern security measures such as encryption and multi-factor authentication.
How Does Immutable Backup Work?
When generating an immutable backup, you place an “object lock” on your data. That lock prevents anybody from mistakenly or intentionally modifying or destroying the data for a certain period, usually specified by the person who performs the backup. The data is deemed WORM-protected while being immutable. WORM stands for “write once, read many” and signifies that once data is recorded, it may be viewed unlimited times but cannot be written over.
The object lock is released when the timer expires, and the backup is no longer immutable. While it is feasible to create a firm backup for an endless amount of time, doing so is uncommon since every organization's data evolves, and the immutable backup might become significantly out-of-date over time.
How Do Immutable Backups Fit Into a 3-2-1-1 Backup Strategy?
IT departments used to follow the 3-2-1 rule when it came to backup strategies, which stated that they must have three (3) copies of their data stored on two (2) different mediums, such as hard drives and the cloud, with at least one (1) of those copies stored off-site (in the cloud or in a physical data center geographically distant from headquarters).
With the increasing incidence of ransomware and other sophisticated attacks, the 3-2-1 rule has evolved into the 3-2-1-1 rule. This refers to the need for three copies of data to be saved on two distinct media, one of which must be stored off-site and one of which must be an immutable or air-gapped backup.
What Is the Importance of Immutable Backup?
Because cyberattacks and data breaches are now a constant danger to organizations and people, dependable backup is more vital than ever. Here are the reasons why.
Data loss can occur due to human error, device failure, software flaws, or accidental deletion. Ransomware can rewrite and hold backed-up data captive. At the same time, immutable backup prevents this by storing a version that cannot be altered, erased, or rewritten, allowing data restoration without paying a ransom.
Preservation of Data History
Having an unchanging copy of your data allows you to trace its progress over time. This is especially valuable when evidence of data authenticity and integrity is required in legal circumstances. Immutable backups may give an audit trail that reveals who viewed the data, when it was accessed, and whether modifications were made.
Regulations like the GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS require businesses to keep an immutable copy of their data. Immutable backup offers enterprises a dependable solution to accomplish regulatory compliance, lower the risk of penalties and fines, and create confidence with customers and industry partners.
Best Practices for Implementing Immutable Backups
There are several recommended practices if you contemplate deploying an immutable backup system for your company or business.
Create a Backup and Recovery Strategy
The strategy should include the steps to be taken throughout the data backup and restoration process. It should also define the kind and frequency of backups to be made. All parties should be informed about the backup plan, which should be adequately documented.
Select the Appropriate Software and Hardware
Your immutable backup software and hardware should be dependable, secure, and compatible with your system. Determine which features you need, such as encryption, compression, and remote backup management. Choose software that enables you to automate backups, monitor backups, and get error notifications.
Implement Access Controls
While immutable backups provide durable data protection, it is equally critical to guarantee that only authorized individuals have access to the data. Strong passwords and multi-factor authentication are necessary, as are audit logs for all backups and restorations, which should be reviewed regularly for any unusual activity.
Encryption is a crucial security technique that restricts access to backups to only authorized individuals. Immutable backup systems should secure data in transit and at rest, using strong encryption techniques like Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Proper maintenance of encryption keys and access to only authorized individuals are also essential for data security.
Monitoring is crucial for tracking the backup process and identifying potential issues before they escalate. It involves setting alerts and notifications, examining previous data to identify patterns, and making informed decisions about future backup operations.
Test Your Backup and Restoration Methods
Regular testing of backup and restoration methods is crucial for ensuring data recovery in case of disasters. This involves running full system restores using partial and complete backups and testing backups in various scenarios like accidental data loss, hardware failures, or cyberattacks. Regular testing ensures that backups can be restored when needed, ensuring data protection and reliability.
Install an Off-site Backup Option
Businesses and corporations should deploy an off-site backup solution to protect their data from physical loss and natural disasters. This ensures the backup infrastructure is as safe and reliable as the main location. A communication strategy should be in place to keep the backup location informed of any data changes, ensuring they are always up-to-date with the latest backups.
Train Your Staff
A company's personnel should be trained on adequately using an immutable backup tool, including its types, frequency, access, and recovery in case of disaster. They should also be educated on best practices for managing sensitive data, the importance of maintaining secure backups, and the need for compliance with anti-money laundering regulations.
Finally, immutable backup is a tamper-proof, constantly developing backup system that offers very safe data security. It is critical because it avoids data loss and ensures compliance with legislation. Installing an immutable backup system necessitates creating a backup and recovery strategy, selecting the appropriate hardware and software, encrypting data, monitoring, and testing backup and restoration processes, installing an off-site backup solution, and training personnel. While immutable backups give your data an extra layer of security, applying other IT security procedures for maximum protection is still suggested.