Data is one of the most valuable assets for any business, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that rely on data to make informed decisions, improve customer service, and gain a competitive edge. However, data is also vulnerable to various threats, such as cyberattacks, system failures, natural disasters, human errors, and more. These threats can cause data loss, corruption, or theft, which can have devastating consequences for SMEs.
One of the best ways to protect your data from these threats is to use an air gap technique in your backup and recovery strategy. An air gap technique is a method of creating a physical or logical separation between your primary data and your backup data, so that they are not connected or accessible to each other. This way, even if your primary data is compromised or destroyed by a threat, you can still recover your data from your backup copy that is isolated and safe.
What is an Air Gap Technique?
An air gap technique involves keeping an offline copy of your important data in a separate location or device that is not connected to your primary network or system. This creates a barrier or a “gap” between your data and any potential threat that could access it online. The “air” in the technique’s name literally describes the concept of keeping a distance between your data and the internet or a local area network (LAN).
There are two main types of air gap techniques: physical and logical.
Physical Air Gap
A physical air gap is the literal separation of your backup data from your primary network or system. This means that you store your backup data on a physical device, such as a USB drive, a firewire, a tape, or an external hard drive, and keep it in a secure location that is not connected to any network or device. You can only access your backup data by physically plugging in the device to your system.
A physical air gap provides the highest level of security for your backup data, as it eliminates any possibility of online access or interference. However, it also has some drawbacks, such as:
- It requires manual intervention to transfer data from your primary system to your backup device at regular intervals.
- It can be slow and inefficient to transfer large amounts of data over physical media.
- It can be prone to human errors, such as forgetting to update the backup copy, losing the backup device, or damaging the backup media.
- It can be costly to maintain multiple backup devices and store them in safe locations.
Logical Air Gap
A logical air gap is the use of software or encryption to create a virtual separation between your backup data and your primary network or system. This means that you store your backup data on a cloud service or a remote server that is protected by access controls, firewalls, encryption, anomaly detection, and other security measures. You can only access your backup data by using the appropriate credentials or keys.
A logical air gap provides more convenience and efficiency for your backup data, as it allows you to automate the transfer of data from your primary system to your backup service at regular intervals. It also has some advantages over a physical air gap, such as:
- It can be faster and easier to transfer large amounts of data over the internet or a LAN.
- It can reduce human errors by using software tools to manage and monitor the backup process.
- It can be cheaper to use cloud services or remote servers than physical devices and locations.
However, a logical air gap also has some limitations, such as:
- It does not completely eliminate the risk of online access or interference, as hackers can still try to breach the security measures of the backup service or server.
- It depends on the reliability and availability of the internet or LAN connection, which can be disrupted by network failures or congestion.
- It requires trust in the backup service or server provider, who may have access to your backup data or may suffer from security breaches themselves.
How to Implement an Air Gap Technique?
To implement an air gap technique in your backup and recovery strategy, you need to consider several factors, such as:
The type of data that you want to protect: You should identify the most critical and sensitive data for your business operations and prioritize them for backup. You should also classify your data according to their retention policies and recovery objectives.
The type of air gap technique that you want to use: You should weigh the pros and cons of using a physical or logical air gap technique for your backup data. You should also evaluate the cost-effectiveness and feasibility of each option for your business needs and budget.
The frequency and schedule of backup: You should determine how often and when you want to update your backup copy with the latest changes from your primary system. You should also consider the impact of backup on your system performance and network bandwidth.
The location and security of backup: You should choose a safe and accessible location or service for storing your backup data. You should also ensure that your backup data is encrypted, authenticated, and protected from unauthorized access or tampering.
The testing and verification of backup: You should regularly test and verify the integrity and usability of your backup data. You should also simulate different scenarios of data loss or corruption and practice the recovery process.
Why Use an Air Gap Technique?
Using an air gap technique in your backup and recovery strategy can provide several benefits for your business, such as:
- It can enhance your data security and resilience by creating a redundant and isolated copy of your data that is immune to online threats.
- It can improve your data recovery and availability by ensuring that you always have a clean and reliable copy of your data that you can restore in case of a disaster.
- It can comply with your data governance and regulatory requirements by maintaining a secure and auditable record of your data history and changes.
- It can increase your customer trust and satisfaction by demonstrating that you value and protect their data privacy and integrity.
An air gap technique is a powerful method of protecting your data from various threats that can cause data loss, corruption, or theft. By creating a physical or logical separation between your primary data and your backup data, you can ensure that you always have a safe and accessible copy of your data that you can recover in case of a disaster. However, an air gap technique also requires careful planning, implementation, and maintenance to achieve its full potential. Therefore, you should consult with a professional backup and recovery service provider, x, to help you design and execute an air gap technique that suits your business needs and budget.
Contact us at email@example.com to learn how we can protect your data and create air-gapped backups to ensure that your SME is protected.