Wednesday, 23 July 2014 21:41

Using Google as a Backup Solution

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I'm backed up - I use Google Drive and Dropbox, right? wrong!

This article has come from a misunderstanding of what backing up actually is and how the cryptolocker virus works

A client of mine affected with the cryptolocker virus asked me to wipe his system and reinstall the operating system assuring me he had a copy of everything from a recent backup. This guy's quite savvy so there was no reason to question him


The difference between backing up and synchronisation drives

Backup - backups are copies of your files created on a separate drive with a date stamp. You could have any number of folders each with a copy of the files you had at that time each with a different timestamp

Sync Drives - Sync drives come in a number of flavours such as Google Drive, iCloud, Sky Drive, Dropbox etc. They create a folder on your PC that has a 'sister' folder somewhere online that is a replica of your PC folder. When a file changes or is added/deleted from your sync folder  those changes are replicated on the online folder

So what's the problem with using Google Drive as a backup?

Let's go through a scenario using Google Drive as our backup. I install Google Drive and have a Google Drive folder on my PC where I put my business critical files in. Brilliant... Google  Drive does it's stuff and uploads (synchronises) those files to my 'online Google Drive' so now I have copies there... backed up right? Wrong!

I now get infected by the cryptolocker virus and it quitely starts to encrypt all my files in the background including my Google Drive folder. You've probably seen what happens next. Google Drive now detects changes to my files and synchronises, updating all my good online files with the bad encrypted files and now I have only encrypted files. This is not a backup it's a mess and I've lost everything and it's how my client discovered the difference

What if I was smarter, understood this and used an online backup system like Backblaze?

If I had an online backup system then I could select the folder with a timestamp say a week ago and check if those files were ok. If they were I could wipe my system and reload that backup... Bingo files back and everything sorted

Thats the difference my client didn't realise. Google Drive, iCloud and Sky Drive are all really fantastic ways of sharing files across multiple devices. I use it so I'm only ever working on the most upto date document whatever PC/tablet I use. But, and this is a big but, I backup my Google Drive with an online backup solution called BackBlaze and you can try it for free by clicking here


One last thing to remember... if you backup to an external drive then make sure it's unplugged when not in use otherwise the cryptolocker virus can find that and encrypt your backups. So far it has not found online backup sources which is why online backup services can protect youIf you need any help with this then just give me a call



Be good and stay safe

Read 37512 times Last modified on Thursday, 24 July 2014 17:53

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