Backup in the Cloud most vulnerable

On World Backup Day, the Sans Institute emphasizes that although cloud backups are growing in popularity, they are more vulnerable compared to on-premises alternatives. It is wise not to put all your eggs in one basket; make sure you have both local and remote backup copies of your files. But what actually makes cloud backups so vulnerable?

Dr. Johannes Ullrich points out that access controls applicable to on-premises backups cannot be transferred one-to-one to a cloud environment. Therefore, organizations must think carefully about access control, authentication and backup cycles. Moreover, on-premises backups are significantly faster to restore, especially compared to the recovery time of cloud backups.

The well-known 3-2-1 rule

Many remain faithful to the familiar 3-2-1 rule for data storage and backup. However, to ensure that recovery is possible, this rule should be extended to the 3-2-1-0 rule: 3 copies in 2 locations, 1 of which is air-gapped, with 0 errors. The requirement of 0 errors requires regular continuous integrity monitoring and regular recovery testing to ensure that a restore is actually possible.

The air-gapped location in this updated version of the 3-2-1 rule with 0 errors provides an essential layer of security for backup data. Hackers cannot access physical air-gapped backups during a ransomware attack.

What does this mean for businesses and organizations?

This does not mean that organizations should avoid cloud-based backups, but it does mean that they should implement multiple backups in different locations and with various technologies. The most secure approach is a hybrid solution, combining cloud-based backups with air-gapped backups, to comply with the new 3-2-1 with 0 errors rule.

By embracing this modern security standard, businesses and organizations can confidently claim that their backup strategy meets the requirements of modern data protection. Is your backup strategy ready for today’s and tomorrow’s challenges?

With lasting greetings,

The Comex Team

Sanders, R. (2023, March 31). Note: backup in cloud weakest link. Accessed August 29, 2023, from

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