Spooky Cyber Stories: The Backup Butcher

Muahahaha! Backup & Disaster Recovery!

Welcome to the first installment of EMPIST’s Spooky Cyber Stories in honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This week we are introducing the villainous Backup Butcher. We are going to cover some of the worst real-world backup nightmares in today’s blog. You never know where the Backup Butcher is going to strike next.   

Is Your Data Safe?

You could lose it all. Whether your data loss is due to human error or a cyberattack, it’s crucial to have a Backup & Disaster Recovery plan in place. Unfortunately, some of the data in today’s accounts didn’t make it out alive. 

The Backup Butcher Strikes

Our first backup disaster takes place inside the walls of a UK prison. Scared already? It gets worse. Back in 2009, Backup & Disaster Recovery plans were not as mainstream as they should have been. This backup disaster lost the data for every prisoner in the country, including the information on 40,000 serious offenders.  

The Criminal Case

How did it happen? Well, an employee took all the data from a secure server and transferred it to a USB stick. The files on the USB stick were in an unencrypted format, and the USB was lost. The lesson here is to never download data to an unencrypted format and to, of course, have a backup plan tested and running constantly.  

Strike Two: The Kansas Backup Tapes

Once again, the Backup Butcher struck and hit a university in Kansas. This Spooky Cyber Story starts with a tornado hitting Joplin, Mo., in May of 2011. The effects of the tornado impacted the offsite storage of Pittsburgh State University in Kansas. As it turns out, there was a backup tape data center in Joplin that stored data for several universities, putting them all at risk for data loss after the destructive storm. 

The Recovery Plan

Action had to be taken. The entire system needed a refresh with high-speed fiber rings, new storage arrays in multiple locations and several backup processes running throughout the day. To go through this process and recovery, data had to be replicated manually. Yikes!  

The Backup Butcher Strikes a Third Time  

This backup scare almost cost Pixar a billion dollars. During the making of Toy Story 2, an employee accidentally ran a command that removed everything on the file system. Just like that, the completed movie was gone. This mistake, if not recovered, would have taken an entire year to correct. The panicked team at Pixar wrapped up the software from the Pixar HQ in blankets to transport and connect them to systems at another location. Luckily, they were able to find the missing files and save the launch of the film.  

Avoid Backup Scares 

There are so many proactive things you can do to make sure your data doesn’t get chopped. Having a Backup & Disaster Recovery plan is at the top of the list. We can’t stress this enough. Once you have a backup plan in place, test it. Also, have a backup for your primary backup. You don’t want to cut your losses when the Backup Butcher comes knocking. For more IT news, blogs and industry insights throughout the week, follow us on  Facebook,  TwitterLinkedIn, and  Instagram.    

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