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Data Preservation Overview

Contents

Abstract

A vast majority of companies have come to rely on digital data to run their many different types of operations. From banks to publishers, manufacturers to chocolate factories, the use of digital data in engineering, accounting, inventory control and sales has become necessary in today's competitive markets. All of these businesses have one thing in common, the vulnerability of insufficient or total lack of data preservation.

Preface


Data loss will have a significant impact on your organization. Apart from affecting revenue, decision-making, corporate reputation and the ability to meet legal requirements are also affected.

More and more data is being stored in smaller spaces. Hard drives store up to five hundred times the data than those of a decade ago. This increased storage ability amplifies the impact of data loss, making it imperative that a data preservation program is in place.

However, with a tailored data preservation plan in place, these worries are minimized, allowing you to concentrate on your main business issues.


What is data preservation?

Data preservation is the process of securing digital data through the use of different types of backup media and techniques along with proper antivirus protection and security. Data Preservation is the single most important aspect of your network because if every other aspect were to fail, data preservation will return your network to working order quickly.

Solutions to the data preservation challenge

There are several aspects to data preservation, and it is important that all receive equal attention. One weak link in the chain of data preservation can mean the demise of the business.

Hardware Software Rotation
Virus protection
Verification Malicious intent Physical Documentation


Hardware

Hardware failure due to a physical problem is the leading cause of data loss. Although the primary 'physical problems' could include fire, flood and other disasters beyond your control, it also includes dust damage, extreme temperatures and damage caused during movement of equipment or simply plain vanilla mechanical failure.

  • Take care to ensure that your hardware is kept in a dry, cool and dust-free area.
  • Avoid moving hardware, especially when it is in use.
  • Protect against power surges by using a UPS
  • Regularly check that all hardware is clean and in working order by implementing a preventative maintenance schedule.


Software

  • All software should be checked for compatibility with the operating system
  • Software should be kept current with patches and updates from the vendor
  • Use diagnostic utilities with extreme caution


Virus protection

  • Antivirus automation in the form of software and virus definition updates must be implemented and maintained.
  • Physical checks of virus definitions, updates and quarantine logs are a must. An unstable wide area network connection could prevent automation to occur and thereby preventing updates.
  • Obtain software from reputable sources only.
  • Ensure that all incoming data, including packaged software, is scanned for viruses


Data Verification

During a good data preservation program, back up media must be read and backup logs reviewed, event logs interpreted for critical system errors, test restore of backup files to an alternate location to verify proper operation of the backup system and those files must be opened and read for validity of data. Without verification of your data, all other steps are a gamble at best.

Malicious Intent, Internal

  • Locating servers in a locked room and placement of security cameras can help combat internal maliciousness.
  • A well-orchestrated password security program should be put into place.
  • Security auditing of users reduces the risk of internal malicious damage.


Malicious Intent, External

The risk of external malicious intent can be reduced by the following methods:

  • Security implementations of hardware and software firewall
    A firewall can be compared to a physical fire door that keeps a fire from spreading from one area to the next, except that in this case, certain data is prevented from passing through the door.

    A firewall is simply a program or hardware device that filters the information coming through the Internet connection into your network. If the filters flag an incoming packet of information, it is not allowed through.

  • Security auditing of users
    Security auditing will enable you to know what is happening on your servers, who is accessing them, what they are doing, and more importantly, what they are attempting to do. You can use this information to build a profile of regular activity, making it a simple matter to spot suspicious events and retain evidence of an intruder's actions.

  • Secure password authentication will ensure that only authorized users are admitted to the network, and will help prevent password 'guess attacks'.


Physical

Physical elements that can be controlled in the server room are:

  • Electrical grounding of the server racks to prevent static discharge and stray electrical problems
  • Proper ventilation and temperature control
  • A clean environment
  • Automatic fire extinguishing system (non H2O)


Rotations

Daily, weekly and long-term data rotations are imperative to proper data preservation. If the building were destroyed by either natural or malicious means, all other steps of data preservation followed diligently would be useless without rotations that include offsite storage as well.

Documentation

Proper documentation of each step of the preventive maintenance program is essential. Even offsite storage of data is useless without the knowledge of this data and the date for a needed refresh. Documentation should also include the location of password lists.



Conclusion

When a clear and precise data preservation scheme is in place you can rest easy, knowing that the data that runs your company is safe.

About Creative Computing Enterprises, Inc.

Creative Computing Enterprises, Inc. is a progressive Information Technology company formed on a foundation of honest and conscientious customer focus with high quality service.

CCE, Inc. was founded on the realization that an IT company with the proper attitude was necessary to restore confidence in computer networking for data needs.

Creative Computing Enterprises, Inc. offers the best service available while providing the optimum technology for your company's computing needs.