Our data is at risk: Why backup is so important

Our data is at risk: Why backup is so important

In this series of blogs, we delve into the critical topic of securing your data, a subject that has gained increased attention in light of recent cyber disruptions, such as the significant breach of the HSE by cybercriminals. Amid discussions in GP forums about security measures like using ProtonMail or setting up VLANs on your network, one aspect often overlooked is the cornerstone of data security: backups. Your backup strategy should be the bedrock of your overall security plan, especially when you are the primary custodian of patient data, bearing the responsibility to ensure its protection.


Why Backups Matter

Backing up your data is a proactive measure to safeguard your information against unforeseen disasters. With the aid of cybersecurity techniques and backup software, you can take the initiative to protect your data from various threats, including cyberattacks, malware, spyware, viruses, and more.


Email Vulnerabilities

Given that many practices still allow unsolicited email, this channel presents a significant risk of compromise. Unsolicited emails should be minimized to reduce potential vulnerabilities. Understanding Backup Solutions

Backup software plays a crucial role in copying and safeguarding data from various devices and servers, protecting it from user errors, file corruption, and physical disasters. It also serves as a defense against hardware failures and cyber threats.

Various backup methods exist, such as disk, tape, and cloud backups. The choice depends on your specific needs and preferences. Personally, I employ a cloud-based backup strategy with encryption keys, ensuring data is stored in multiple geographical locations. This approach is not only secure and cost-effective but also facilitates quick backup testing and aligns with disaster recovery (DR) plans.


Importance of Test Restores

Having backups is vital, but having regularly tested backups is even more critical. Regular test restores are essential to verify that your backup strategy is reliable. Countless stories abound of organizations assuming they had robust backup strategies, only to discover missing critical data during restoration attempts. I cannot stress enough the importance of testing restores. In my practice, we conduct quarterly test restores, and automation has streamlined the process, making it efficient and reliable.


Building a Disaster Recovery Plan

Lastly, consider crafting a disaster recovery plan (DRP). This formal document provides detailed instructions on responding to unplanned incidents, including natural disasters, power outages, cyberattacks, and other disruptive events. A well-crafted DRP helps minimize the impact of disruptions and ensures the continuity of operations. Disruptions can lead to lost revenue, damage to your brand, and dissatisfied patients. A solid DRP enables rapid recovery from disruptions, regardless of their source, and should be a crucial component of your overall data security strategy

Key Takeaways:

Robust backups are the foundation for business continuity in the event of a disaster. Test your backups to ensure they are reliable. Document everything, from your backup strategy to your DRP


  1. Robust backups are the foundation to ensuring business continuity in the event of a disaster
  2. Don’t trust your backups until such time as you have proven they work
  3. Ensure that everything is documented
  4. Have a plan