Back up data and devices

Back up all data that you are responsible for, using multiple methods or formats. Check with your IT support staff if you are unsure of how to back up UW-owned data and devices.

The ever-increasing threat of ransomware is one great reason to keep your data, computers, phones, information systems, and critical information assets backed up. It’s important to use multiple methods or formats to back them up, and to ensure that at least one backup is not connected to your computer–because backups that are attached can become infected by ransomware and other forms of malware.

A good strategy for backups is the 3-2-1 rule. It says there should be at least:

  • 3 copies or versions of data,
  • Stored on 2 different pieces of media,
  • 1 of which is off-site and immutable.

In this context, “immutable” means that the computer whose data is backed up cannot delete the backups. (Deleting your backups is one way ransomware actors increase the pressure to pay up.)

Besides backing up data in multiple forms, make sure your backups are:

  • Stored in an immutable form (entirely offline, or at least undeletable by the computer that created them),
  • Encrypted,
  • Can only be accessed with multi-factor authentication,
  • And can be restored within a reasonable amount of time.

And be sure to test your restoration process before a catastrophe strikes, by doing a complete restore of critical data.

Learn more: World Backup Day