World Backup Day is March 31

World Backup Day serves as an annual reminder of the importance of backups. University data is valuable and at risk through a variety of ways, including theft, loss, human error, device failure, natural disasters, and malicious actors. Data that is backed up and recoverable can help mitigate the impact of these inevitable events.

If a device stores University data, back it up! So, when devices malfunction or die, accidents happen (natural or physical) or you fall prey to ransomware, backups can come to the rescue. Backup all your devices, including phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and servers. Follow these three best practices to secure your data.

Follow the 3/2/1 backup rule.
Create three copies of your data saved on two different storage media types (disk, cloud) and keep at least one remote copy offsite (or in the cloud).

University of Virginia ITS can provide backup services that are designed to provide recoverability for loss of data stored within the ITS server environment.

For individual files, the University recommends using OneDrive or Box.  However, it is important to remember that a cloud syncing service is not a backup. A cloud service like OneDrive can be used as part of your backup strategy, but it is not a backup if you are actively using it as your storage location. A backup is a completely separate copy of data. A backup doesn’t just protect against a complete loss but is also a safeguard against modifications. Also, make sure to follow University of Virginia standards when storing and backing up sensitive or highly sensitive data.

Set up automated backups and ensure backup data is encrypted.
Automated backups take out the middleman. Ensuring that your data is encrypted and cannot be altered is a critical step as ransomware increasingly targets both live and backup data.

Have a backup communication plan and practice it.
Make sure key stakeholders are aware of the procedures, their responsibilities, and the timelines in case a backup or restore is needed. Provide opportunities to run the plan often. Check in advance that backups are complete and can be restored in case of data loss. If you haven’t tested your backup, you can’t call it a backup.

Following these steps can proactively protect important University data. Make every day World Backup Day.


Elizabeth Cox
March, 2024