The Importance of Data Encryption in Backup and Recovery

Organizations today face more cybersecurity risks than ever before—both in the volume of criminal attempts and the diversity of threats. Whether it’s a basic phishing scheme that targets employee credentials or a more complex approach that utilizes modern AI technology, the objective of these cyber threats is always the same. Cybercriminals seek to steal sensitive data from companies or compromise their business operations in exchange for a large payout. 

To mitigate these threats and keep their IT landscape secure, companies must implement solutions both through software security and rigorous company policies. 

One of these solutions involves data backup and recovery solutions. Specifically, implementing encrypted backup enables organizations to keep data secure from threats ranging from outright theft to accidental compromise.

Let’s explore why backup encryption matters in an increasingly digital tech environment.

The Role of Data Encryption in Backup

Companies should encrypt data before it’s backed up to ensure extra protection from unexpected threats that may compromise its integrity or availability throughout its lifespan. Ideally, backup encryption is used as a long-term strategy since it could be years before the need to restore data from a backup emerges.

Encryption also significantly reduces the risk to data during transit to a backup and maintains these safeguards when the data is stored on a disk, in repositories, or virtually on the cloud.

Common Concerns and Questions

Let’s address common questions about backup encryption:

Should I Encrypt Backups? 

Yes, encrypting your backups protects them from the impact of additional risks, whether it’s unauthorized access resulting in data theft or compromise or data loss following a network security breach.

What Are the Risks of Not Encrypting Backups?

Failure to encrypt backups could render them susceptible to data theft, culminating in the loss of sensitive information. In the event of a security incident, restoring systems to their previous state will likely be challenging—and even impossible—if the backup is compromised and unencrypted.

Benefits of Encrypted Backup

Businesses that choose encrypted backup solutions benefit in several ways:

  • Minimizes downtime after threat – Should a cyberattack occur, businesses can confidently restore their systems from a secured, encrypted backup. Doing so also protects these businesses against the consequences of data breaches, as even if criminals access the data, the information will be unreadable.
  • Compliance with data protection regulations – Frameworks like the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) require businesses to apply strong encryption on all forms of data storage, including backups such that they can protect the sensitive data living there.
  • Peace of mind for businesses and individuals – Whether backup encryption applies to business or personal use, users can trust in the protection these solutions offer in securing sensitive data 24/7.

How to Implement Backup Encryption

Implementing data encryption in backup and recovery processes typically involves:

  • Installing the appropriate industry-standard security on all backups, such as SSL/TLS and HTTPS for data in transit and single- or multi-key encryption for data at rest.
  • Complying with the data security requirements stipulated by regulatory frameworks.
  • Testing encrypted backups often to verify the data stored on them can be restored if impacted by security threats.

Data Recovery Considerations

It’s much easier to recover data from backups post-encryption because there’s increased confidence in the restored data’s integrity, availability, and security. 

However, even the most reliable encryption can be weakened if the custodians of encryption keys do not practice security hygiene. It’s important to securely manage these keys and prevent unauthorized access, which could compromise the overall backup.

Real-Life Examples

In recent news, Apple announced it would allow users to back up their cloud-stored data using end-to-end encryption. Unencrypted data backups had previously raised concerns about the reliability of Apple’s privacy, with questions about the tech company’s risk resilience should its servers experience a breach.

Such end-to-end data encryption measures provide the highest level of cloud data security that helps users withstand the increasingly sophisticated and complex threats in today’s digital environment. These encrypted backups are secured with cryptographic keys that limit breaks in access control and improve the level of protection users can implement.

Implement Industry-Standard Backup Encryption with Helixstorm

Encrypting data backups can help your business achieve cyber resilience, securing your data year-round. And with the help of a trusted managed backup services provider like Helixstorm, you can minimize the risk of backing up sensitive data the traditional way. 

Instead, Helixstorm will help you secure your backups, retain visibility, and boost your confidence through 24/7 backup security. Contact us today to learn more about our managed backup services.