Backing up your data
Do you have a recent backup of the data stored on your PC or Mac? If not, ITS strongly recommends making sure that you put a regular backup procedure in place, such as keeping your data stored in Google Drive and/or backing up data onto an external disk. A backup of your computer's data is critical, particularly in the case of a ransomware infection, disk failure, or your computer potentially being lost or stolen.
Risks to your data
Ransomware is a particularly malicious form of malware that will encrypt the data on your hard drive and any attached drive on your computer, and then ask you to pay a ransom to the malware's developer in order to be given access to a key to decrypt and access your data. Even if you pay this ransom, you may not get the ability to access your data again. Please also be aware that NCSSM will not pay a ransom for ransomware. That being said, in most cases, ransomware infections result in a complete loss of data. To mitigate this risk, make sure you have a current backup or that you store your data somewhere other than your computer's hard drive so that your data stays safe.
Also, please be aware that any accessible network shares are vulnerable to ransomware, in addition to the local data on your computer. Although that is the case, however, ITS performs incremental backups of the network shares. Because of this, ITS has the ability to recover this data even if it gets encrypted by ransomware, as long as ITS is notified in a timely fashion and therefore has ample time to quickly recover the data that is encrypted.
As your computer's hard disk ages, its chances of suffering a mechanical failure increases, and such a failure can also happen at any time given a drop or other accident. When a disk failure occurs, it is not always possible for ITS to recover any data that was not stored or backed up elsewhere. Some data recovery services exist from outside vendors, however, they can charge thousands of dollars for these types of services. Again, the only way to be fully-prepared for a disk failure is to make sure that you have your data stored somewhere other than your PC or Mac.
Lost or stolen computer
Just in case your laptop is lost or stolen, you want to make sure that your data isn't just stored on your computer's hard drive.
Again, ITS recommends:
- Keeping all of your own documents and data stored in Google Drive, which is backed up via Backupify.
- Note: Google's Team Drives feature is also being used NCSSM. ITS recommends using Team Drives for departmental and other team data as an alternative to the use of network shares.
- That you make sure that anything else that you have stored locally is backed up to an external flash drive or hard drive. Please be aware, however, that these forms of media are not as reliable as storing your data in Google Drive or on a network share, and unlike either of those solutions, they do not have any redundancy in the case of theft, loss, or failure.
If you have any questions about any of this, or need assistance putting a backup solution in place on your own PC or Mac, please Send ITS a Ticket to let us know and we will be happy to assist in any way that we can.