The NCSA Guide to PC & LAN Security

Stephen Cobb, CISSP

Chapter 8: Secure Data

This chapter is about: Backup, backup, backup

...the chapter deals with the all important topic of backup. If there is one single fact about data security that should be clear by now it is this: Your best protection against data loss is backups stored in a safe place. We can define backup as a current copy of all valuable files. This chapter reviews the various technologies for making backups such as tape drives and cartridge disks. The relative merits of different technologies are presented but specific product reviews are avoided since these quickly become dated. Indeed, today's data defenders are regularly presented with new products offering faster and more cost-effective solutions to the backup dilemma.

Unfortunately, even the latest storage media are relatively primitive, since all of them are, to a certain extent, mechanical in operation. And mechanisms have a nasty tendency to wear out or break down. Unfortunately, the filing systems that personal computer operating systems use are also relatively primitive (relative to, for example, the sophistication that has been achieved in such software as graphics and video). So this chapter points out some of the integrity and accessibility problems posed by the way in which operating systems relate to storage media. Preventative measures are suggested and diagnostic tools are discussed.

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