Keep Your Data Safe

Keep Your Data Safe

Information is an important asset of yoursperhaps as important as the products you sell. If your information suddenly became unavailable, how would your business continue? How long would it take to recover, and what would that recovery cost? When many people consider necessary steps for protecting computers, they stop after considering ways to limit and control access. But that isn't enough, because access controls can be circumvented; data protection is equally as important.

In Chapter 17, "Data-Protection Mechanisms," we give data protection a full treatment, covering important techniques such as access control and rights management; in Chapter 6, "If You Do Not Have Physical Security, You Do Not Have Security," we discussed encryption. Essentially the goal is, again, to achieve the notion of least privilegegive users access only to what they need and nothing more. Because most people are honest this notion helps protect against accidental "attacks," but it also limits what malicious users are capable of perpetrating.

Another critical procedure to develop is a regular backup process. Data storage hardware is not immune to failure, and some failures can destroy your data. Backups are your only insurance against data loss caused by failed hardware or by accidental or malicious data destruction. In SBS, it's easy to keep a system backed up using the Backup Configuration Wizard from the To Do List. [16] The utility uses the volume shadow copy service in Windows, which even backs up open files, so that users can continue to work while the backup is in progress. Note, however, that large backups over the network might affect the network's performance, so it's best to schedule backups to occur after normal work hours.

[16] "Backing up and restoring Windows Small Business Server 2003" (http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/gtm/securityguidance/articles/backup_restore_sbs2003.mspx).

The backup utility can copy data to several locations: another hard drive, an optical device such as a CD or DVD recorder, and a tape drive. It's probably faster and cheaper these days to back up to USB drivesfive-gigabyte drives are for sale in some places; DVD is probably okay, too, especially the new dual-layer drives and media now available. CD just doesn't have the necessary capacity and tape is prohibitively expensive. And if you've scheduled backups for after-hours, don't forget to load your removable media before you go home.

If you should ever have to restore a server, you can choose an alternate location, which can be useful if you need to restore right away to some other computer to get back online right now. The alternate computer's hardware configuration must match the previous computer pretty closely: same hard drive controller, motherboard chip set, processor count, hard disk volume sizes, and boot partition drive letter.

Test your backups regularly! Backup media, like any other kind, can go bad. So many people have used the same media over and over again, only to discover during an actual disaster that the media is corrupt and the restores therefore fail. And when you do eventually have to replace the backup media, be sure to completely destroy the old tapes or discs: don't just toss them in the garbage, because someone will find them. Cut them into small ribbons with a band saw.



Protect Your Windows Network From Perimeter to Data
Protect Your Windows Network: From Perimeter to Data
ISBN: 0321336437
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 219

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