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Sep 11

On Backups…

A friend passed away recently… On going through his computer files, we found years worth of photos with a .ccc suffix… Ransomware… With two teenagers in the house, my biggest fear is some network replicating bug that takes down my entire network.

Apparently it hit him a while ago, and he didn’t tell me. (I was his IT guy, but he hated the idea that he might have made a mistake). Years of pictures, potentially important, lost, probably forever… (As the files in his user directory had been restored long after the computer in question had been wiped, there was no indication of which virus caused the problem.)

So what to do about backups.

The only totally secure system is one disconnected from the network, and powered off. The minute you connect *ANY* computer to the internet it becomes vulnerable. Sure there are steps you can take to prevent data-loss, anti-virus, a good firewall, etc. But eventually you’re probably going to run into a site with embedded malware on it, and it’s all over.

Personally, I like the idea of off-host, disconnected backups.

Every morning I wake up, stumble downstairs, get a cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal, and sit down for my morning staff meeting. (Where I find out the messes I’m going to have to clean up from the night before)

While I’m sitting there, I take the 4TB drive out of the removable bay and replace it with the OTHER 4TB drive I’ve got sitting on a shelf. One marked Odd, one marked Even. At Midnight every day, Acronis True Image kicks off a disk image backup of my boot drive, and important data drive. (My games drives and multimedia drives are ignored, because Steam, Origin, and iTunes pretty much covers those, it only takes bandwidth to recover those from the cloud, and those can’t be modified by my computer.

I like this way because A, I’m never out more than 24 hours worth of work, and B, I know that there is no virus on the planet that can infect a hard-drive sitting on a shelf in a plastic case. (Though I bet some idiot somewhere is trying to figure that one out)

So my RPO (Recovery Point Objective) is usually “within 24 hours”. RTO is about 5-6 hours to do a full restore. (I keep the data drive even though it’s synced to Office365 because we all know, corruption mirrors just as fast as good data.)

All that for a few hundred dollars in hard drives and a $25 removable drive bay for my PC, I’m protected.

So my question is this: What do you use for your home/home-office backups? Acronis is getting a bit long in the tooth, and I’m considering alternatives.

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