Backing up data and devices

Making a backup means making a copy of your data so you can quickly restore it if it’s lost, leaked or stolen. Here’s what you need to know about backing up, including making a backup plan.

What backing up involves

Backing up involves creating an up-to-date copy of your data.  It’s important to do, so that if you lose your data for any reason, you can quickly replace it with the copy you made. Data loss can happen by a device being damaged, a cyber attack, or a lost or stolen computer. 

A backup is only as useful as the data that’s on it.  If a backup is not up-to-date you’ll still lose any photos or documents you’ve made since. You can make a back-up of just your files (such as your documents and photos) or your whole system.

Make a good back up plan

Making any kind of back up reduces your risk of losing your data. Here are some tips for making effective backups to reduce your risk even further:

  • Back up regularly. Get into a routine of regularly doing backups. How often you back up depends on how frequently your data changes. If you have new customer data coming in every day, then you should do a daily backup.
  • Have different backups. Keep two different copies of your backups, with one at a different location. This means that if someone breaks in and steals your laptop and hard-drive, you still have a copy of your data elsewhere. Using a cloud backup system in combination with physical hardware (hard drive or memory stick) is one option. 
  • Make sure backups are stored offline. If you’re using a memory stick or an external hard drive as a backup device, disconnect it from your network each day.  If it’s left connected, anything that affects your machine will affect the backup too.
  • Routinely test your backup solutions.  It’s crucial that you make sure your backups work and that your stored data is as it should be.  Check that your machine is malware-free before you restore from a hard drive back up.
  • Protect your backed up data with passwords.  Secure your backup by making sure it has a strong password to prevent unauthorized access to stored data.  You should also apply two-factor authentication if it’s available.

Although regular back-ups are a great mitigation against attacks, use other good security practices to help keep your information safe. Ensuring you keep your system up-to-date with security updates and you use a good anti-virus software.

Back up advice for businesses

Visit CERT NZ for more information. 
Visit ACSC for more information.