Primary Storage vs Secondary Storage – A Comprehensive Guide

Every day you interact with primary and/or second storage. But, do you know what they are and how they differ from each other? By knowing the differences between the two, you can effectively manage and store your data. Before we move our talk towards primary storage vs secondary storage, let’s take a quick look at the definition of storage. The fundamental function of a computer is to store data. Data storage defines how the data is recorded in a technological device like a computer or laptop. We can divide data storage into four categories known as primary storage, secondary storage, tertiary storage, and offline. We mostly use primary and secondary memory in our daily life.

Primary Storage – A Brief Overview 

Primary storage or sometimes called “primary memory” is the memory that resides inside your computer. It can be of two types, i.e., volatile memory and non-volatile memory. Volatile primary memory is the one that loses the data as soon as you turn off or restart your computer. The data that it holds is directly used by the CPU. It is also a high-speed storage medium because it is directly connected to the CPU via a memory bus. On the other hand, the other type of primary storage is non-volatile, and it stores the data for a longer period as compared to the volatile medium. It will keep the data safe even if you reboot or shut down your computer. Some of the common types of primary storage include RAM, ROM, PROM, flash memory, and cache memory. 

Examples of Primary Storage

RAM

Random Access Memory (RAM) is volatile primary storage and also called computer memory. It stores the applications programs, operating system, and all the data that the computer is currently using. It is the main memory of a computer and has really fast speed to ensure timely read and write operations.

ROM

Read Only Memory (ROM) is non-volatile primary storage. It stores the data permanently so it is more reliable for storage. One thing to mention here is that you cannot write on the data saved in it, it only allows read operation on it.

Flash Memory

Flash memory is again non-volatile primary storage. Its main use is for the transfer of data from one computer to another. What makes it different from the above two primary storage facilities is that it is electronically programmed and can be electronically erased. 

Cache Memory

Cache memory or CPU memory stores computer instructions to provide a faster interactive environment. When the CPU needs some data, it first tries to access data in the cache memory, and if the data is not found, it looks for it in the RAM. 

Secondary Storage – A Brief Overview

The second major type of storage facility in a computer is secondary storage. It provides a long term storage facility, thereby it is non-volatile. Secondary storage mediums are also called external storage or auxiliary storage. It is not directly accessed by the I/O operations, so its speed is a bit slow compared to primary storage. Besides that, the secondary storage device is less expensive as compared to the primary storage device. Some forms of secondary storage devices are hard drives, optical media, magnetic tape, etc.

Examples of Secondary Storage

Hard Drives

Hard drives are a common aspect of modern computers and are highly in use these days. There are different types of hard drives available in the market such as solid-state drives (SSD), spinning disks, etc. The positioning, reading, and writing of data are all controlled by hard drives. Administrators often ensure to backup their files when using hard drives so that in case of any issues with hard drives, the data stored remains safe. 

Optical Media

The most common form of optical storage media is CDs and DVDs. The optical storage media has extraordinary speed and portability and is considered an efficient improvement to the former 3.5-inch disk drives. Although optical media use is reducing with each passing day, still it is a vital part of the technical world. 

Primary Storage vs Secondary Storage – Key Differences

There are some major differences between primary and secondary storage devices. Some of the dissimilarities are listed below:

  • Storage

The major difference between primary and secondary storage is that the former is the main memory of the computer, while the latter is considered the external data storage medium that is meant for long-term data storage. Similarly, the primary storage medium stores data in a uniform manner, and on the contrary, the secondary storage medium does not store it uniformly. 

  • Access

Primary storage stores data and applications for a temporary duration and gives direct access to the processing unit with no or minimum delay. On the other hand, secondary storage stores data permanently and let it get retrieved with no delay. 

  • Speed

The speed of the computer relies directly on the speed of the storage medium. As mentioned above, primary storage is a means to store the data for applications and programs in the main memory, so it is fast and efficient. Whereas secondary storage is long-term storage and not directly connected to the I/O operations, so it is slow.

  • Nature 

Primary storage can be of either volatile or non-volatile type. However, the second storage is only non-volatile. 

Wrapping Up

Both primary and secondary storage are essential elements of data storage. However, they provide storage functionality in different ways. They both are also different in terms of their pros and cons. While primary storage has the advantage of being fast, it is not a means for permanent storage. Similarly, secondary storage is more reliable for permanent storage, but it lacks the required speed. The one thing that is common to both the storage mediums is that they are an integral part of the computer world.  

How Next-Generation Data Protection is Reshaping Data Protection for Businesses

There is no doubt saying that the present era is data driven. Everyone knows that the digital data volume is increasing and its importance for businesses is also growing rapidly. But just in one single workplace data center, the data is spread out in different forms. So, businesses not just have to ensure proper data management, they have to set up such security infrastructure that ensures robust data protection and at the same time provide uninterrupted access to it. This is where our current legacy systems fail and next-generation data protection evolves. This blog is going to present a comprehensive overview about all the basic information surrounding next-generation data protection. 

What is Next-Generation Data Protection?

There is no one common definition to define next-generation data protection. Different organizations have different viewpoints about next-generation data protection. Some links it to rapid data access and enhanced data management, while other links it to advanced data protection measure. But if we talk about next-generation data protection from a broader perspective, it is an advanced way of data protection that transforms the traditional backup and recovery process and provides rapid access to data.

Why Next-Generation Data Protection?

This technologically advanced era has increased the expectation level of customers and triggered businesses to present out-of-the-box services that are mostly data-driven. Such evolvement of businesses digitally has made them more data-centric than ever before. They are now collecting an unprecedented amount of data that includes plenty of sensitive data sets. Besides that, the growing cyber-attacks, possibilities of data loss, and inefficient data backup measures, all have triggered the need for next-generation data protection. 

Following are some of the reasons why businesses are actively considering next-generation data protection: 

  • Improving Legacy Storage Solutions

The traditional approach of backup and restore involves transferring massive data volumes from one place to another. But it takes too much time, which impacts business operations and efficiency of services. The present competitive era demands businesses to have enhanced ways to backup data that do not affect business operations and protect critical data

Next-generation data protection addresses this concern by transforming the traditional backup and data recovery process. There are data protection solutions available today that can capture data from storage mediums at discrete intervals, such as hourly, daily, weekly, etc. Such solutions automatically perform incremental data backups in the background without causing any kind of disruption. This way, data gets protected, while business operations and services operate disruption-free

  • Rapid Access of Data

As business operations center around data today, it means there is a need for rapid access to data, quick and frequent backup process, and instant process to restore data. In addition, employees’ productivity can be enhanced if they are given rapid and continuous access to data. 

Next-generation data protection is an approach to have better data protection with rapid access to data. Cloud services are an excellent example here. Businesses are eagerly shifting towards cloud based computing and backups because it provides anywhere and anytime data accessibility. Besides rapid access to data, cloud services also ensure robust data protection by encrypting data before storing it at their remote services. In addition, cloud data storage is based on monthly or annual subscriptions depending on the storage space a company needs. Therefore, businesses can have unlimited storage at a cost-friendly rate compared to what it costs to have on-premises data storage. 

  • Security Needs

One thing the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us is that we cannot live without data. Employees are forced to work from home, which means they need an uninterrupted supply of business data at their remote location. It seems easy with the internet, but remote networks are not secure compared to workplace networks. So, when employees are accessing business-sensitive data remotely, then how they are ensuring protection from possible cyber-attacks. The year 2020 has already been the worst in terms of the number of cyber-attacks businesses encountered. Therefore, the need for efficient security data protection is growing aggressively.

Next generation data protection not just provides more robust data backup measures, but it helps to set better data monitoring. For example, businesses can deploy proper data access management and data analytics systems that can help them keep a close eye on who is getting access to data, what data is being assets, etc. 

  • Digital Transformation

One business transformation that every business is doing or planning to do is “digital transformation”. Businesses are improving their business models to have efficient business processes, customer experiences, and overall work culture to address the changing market requirements. Next-generation data protection is an essential part of digital transformation, as it let businesses consider new and advanced ways to ensure disaster recovery measures and effective business continuity plans. 

  • Regulatory Demands

Not only businesses are concerned about data protection, customers’ awareness of data protection and privacy is also rising. In fact, governments are also introducing more strict regulations to ensure data protection and privacy, such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Customers are preferring those businesses that are more transparent about what data is being collected and how it is being secured and used. In all such situations, businesses cannot just rely on traditional data protection measures to have long term growth. Next-generation data protection empowers businesses to adopt up-to-date protection measures that are oriented according to present regulatory needs and also meet the expectation of customers. 

Wrapping Up

The growing reliance on digital data has urged businesses to take more robust measures towards data protection. Data backups are considered the backbone of businesses today. The sustainability of any business depends on how much it is prepared to address any major data calamity. Next-generation data protection cuts off the traditional, less effective data protection measures and empowers businesses to take advantage of the latest technological advancements for better data protection. If a business cannot ensure next-generation data protection on its own, there are many services that can facilitate in implementing top-notch next-generation data protection.  

The Present Best Data Backup Approaches for Businesses

There is no such thing as business sustainability without a data backup. A business can be lucky enough to sustain its business operations without experiencing a major data loss, but there are always chances of sudden data loss. A data loss can occur due to any reason, such as hardware malfunction, accidental deletion, cybercrime, natural disaster, etc. Since digital data is highly valuable for businesses today, the best approach is to have a reliable and efficient data backup system in place. There are different approaches to do data backup, therefore this blog present the best data backup approaches you can pick from. 

On-Premises Data Backup

The most traditional way of data backup is the on-premises backup. An on-premises backup is a data backup process in which you copy the data to a storage device that is placed in-house. The backup can be done manually or automatically depending on the backup software you use to copy data. The common mediums of on-premises data backup include an external hard drivenetwork-attached storage (NAS), tape drive, etc. 

Some of the key benefits of on-premises data backup include:

  • It provides access to data backup without an internet connection. So, in case of internet issues at the workplace, you still have access to your on-premises backed-up data. 
  • It provides you full control of the backed-up data. The associated hardware and software in your data center are also managed and controlled by you.  
  • Although it is expensive to set up a proper on-premises backup storage system along with regular maintenances, still it becomes cheaper in a long run. So, large businesses that can afford the initial expenditure of on-premises data backup can witness cheaper expenses related to it in the future. 
  • It provides more sense of security, as the data is backed up in external hard drivestape backups, or other mediums which are not linked to the internet. So, it saves the data from getting breached by cybercriminals. 

Cloud Data Backup

The trending and advanced way of data backup in present times in cloud data backup. A cloud data backup is a data backup approach where you take the services of a cloud backup provider to back up your business data on their servers. Basically, you are uploading your data to the cloud that is managed by cloud backup services. This way, you don’t have to worry about maintaining on-premises hardware or allocating proper physical space and environment for keeping locally backed-up data. 

Some of the key benefits of cloud data backup include:

  • It let your business have unlimited data storage. All you need is to subscribe to the storage capacity you need and later decrease or increase as per your needs. This way, you never have to worry about storage limits. 
  • It provides anywhere, anytime access to the backed-up data. In the times of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to perform backup and recovery from anywhere at any point in time is a great blessing. 
  • Although data is stored on the remote servers of the cloud service provider via the internet, still it provides robust security. It is because most of the cloud backup services encrypt the data before storing it at their remote location, so it’s not an easy job for cybercriminals to get access to the data. 
  • As data is not stored locally, so any malfunction of local hardware or software will have no effect on the cloud backup data. In addition, cloud backup services further duplicate your backup data and store it in multiple remote locations. This way, even if they experience a malfunction in one of their data centers, your data is still secure in the other location. In short, cloud storage ensures reliable disaster recovery.
  • Its major attractive element is the cost-saving impacts for businesses. Cloud backup solutions are based on monthly or annual subscriptions based on the storage needs of a business for its file system. In addition, the rates are also quite economical compared to what it costs to set up an on-premises backup system. Therefore, small and medium businesses can find cloud backup the best solution to meet their backup needs in a cost-effective way. 

There are multiple cloud backup services available today, so you must carefully evaluate the shortlisted services and pick the one that best addresses your business backup needs.

Hybrid Data Backup

Hybrid data backup lets businesses take advantage of both on-premises backup and cloud backup. In a hybrid data backup, you will be backing up data in the cloud, while a copy of its is also stored on-premises. This way, you can have two copies of your business crucial data. This approach is best for those businesses who have a highly-sensitive data to protect and cannot trust just one on-premises or cloud backup. It is a bit expensive compared to just having either an on-premises or cloud storage solution, so it’s recommended for only those businesses who have the capital to bear such expenses. 

Some of the key benefits of hybrid data backup include:

  • It provides a more reliable disaster recovery plan. If your on-premises backup data gets corrupted, you still have access to cloud backup data.
  • It gives you accessibility freedom, as the cloud backup data is accessible continuously from anywhere. In addition, if your internet connection is down, then the data stored on-premises is there to rescue.
  • It let smart management of data backups. You can backup most sensitive data both in the cloud and on-premises, while less sensitive data can be backed up in only one medium. 

Wrapping Up

Owing to the growing importance of data backup, there are plenty of ways for businesses to backup data. On-premises, cloud, or hybrid backups all are reliable ways to perform data backup. But if you have to pick any one of them, then it depends on your business capital and sensitive data volume

For example, if your backup data volume is less and you can afford to have on-premises hardware and software for data backup, then the on-premises backup can be picked. But if you have significant data volume to backup and want to get other advantages, such as always accessibility, cost-friendly backups, and unlimited storage space, then cloud data backup is the best choice. On the other hand, hybrid data backup is ideal when your business has enough capital to afford both on-premises and cloud backup expenses

Best Cloud Services Provider in 2021 that won’t Disappoint

The cloud market is gaining popularity with every passing year. Today the main purpose of a cloud services provider is not just confined to providing cloud storage services, but better data management, analytics, collaboration, and similar other services are also linked with cloud computing services. In addition, the type of data getting stored in a cloud is also increasing, whether it is software, applications, services, products, databases, or even operating systems, everything is moving to the cloud. Cloud is the need for businesses, but it is not easy for most businesses to choose a reliable cloud services provider from plenty of providers out there. Therefore, this blog highlights some of the best cloud services providers out there in the market. 

5 Best Cloud Services Providers

If you don’t want to go through a screening process for choosing an effective, reliable, and efficient cloud services provider, then take a look at the below listed 5 best cloud services providers. Each one of them is known to provide the best cloud offerings and features.

Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) was launched in 2002 and soon became the most reputed cloud services company. The most promising aspect of AWS is its comprehensiveness, as it offers over 165 fully-featured cloud services from data centers all over the globe. Thus, its services are in use by millions of customers all over the world. 

In addition to basic cloud computing services, some of the other services associated with AWS include AWS Data Transfer, Elastic Compute Cloud, AWS Key Management Service, Simple Notification Service, Route 53, and much more. AWS developers have always considered security a top priority. Therefore, you will also witness services like data encryption, inventory and configurations, DDoS mitigation, identity control, and penetration testing. Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that Amazon Web Services is one of the most security-sensitive organizations.

Google Cloud

Next in line, we have is the Google Cloud platform. The services provided by Google Cloud are somewhat similar to those of AWS. However, the reach of Google Cloud is not as much as AWS. The services of Google Cloud are available in 20 regions covering 61 zones. 

Commonly, Google Cloud services are used because of their relatively lower rates as compared to others. Another thing that makes Google Cloud outshine others is its relatively larger network which is considered to be ‘blazing’ fast. The private global fiber network helps in boosting the speed of the network and it has attracted many large enterprises towards it. Furthermore, the redundant backups offered by Google Cloud add another advantage to its bucket. Technology changes rapidly, and Google Cloud has shown how it can adapt to these changing circumstances by being dedicated to continued expansion.

Microsoft Azure

Of all the services mentioned here, Microsoft Azure is growing the fastest. A point to note here is that Azure was launched after Google Cloud and AWZ, but it still managed to pick up the pace quickly. Just like AWS, Microsoft Azure also offers hundreds of different services. There are several categories in Azure services, such as machine learning, compute, databases, developer tools, integration, internet of things, Microsoft Azure stack, networking, storage, Windows virtual desktop, and much more. 

The reason for Microsoft Azure to stand out in the market is its intelligence. You will find many out-of-the-box services associated with Microsoft Azure once you start exploring the platform. In addition, it has also gained the attention of the US government with its top-notch security measures and actively being used in different government organizations. 

Oracle Cloud

Oracle Cloud is a comprehensive cloud services provider that offers Data as a Service (DaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). The cloud services are easy to use because users do not have to install, manage, or upgrade the software, as all of this is done by SaaS. Thus, most of the tasks are automated by Oracle to ensure a streamlined performance. It helps to empower businesses who like to be time-efficient and operate faster. 

Other than its key services, Oracle Cloud infrastructure is also reputed for its robust security. Furthermore, users can scale the resources as required for better services. Lastly, the price of Oracle Cloud is reasonable and cheaper than most of the other cloud services of the same standards.     

IBM Cloud

If you are looking for a cloud services provider that is specifically made for businesses, then IBM cloud is the right choice. Just like most of the other cloud services you will find SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS services via private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud models in IBM cloud. Enterprises are usually running low on time, so IBM provides services that save time by allocating configuration software and disk space automatically. IBM Cloud also provides tools like Prometheus, Grafana, and Kube dashboards so that your firewall is secure and your private information remains confidential. 

Wrapping Up

If you want to enjoy a storage facility with high performance that is accessible anytime and anywhere, then move your data centers to any of the cloud services provider mentioned above. You can also use multiple clouds for various purposes. All you need to do is lay out your requirements and choose the service that matches it the most. Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services are currently leading the market, and both are competing fiercely to get the first position in the market. However, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, and Oracle Cloud are also improving rapidly and providing trustworthy services. 

Online Storage vs. Online Backup: What are the Key Differences?

There are a number of services that provide online space for storing your data. Some use the term online storage, while others use the term online backup. So, many users get confused here and develop a thought that online storage and online backup are the same. But the reality is a bit different. If your purpose is to have a backup copy of data online, then opting for online storage platforms does not justify your backup needs. To clarify this confusion, this blog presents a comprehensive guide on online storage vs online backup.

Main Purposes of Online Storage and Online Backup Services

To understand why online storage and online backup are two different elements, you first have to understand the main purpose behind these services.

Online storage services (Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive) are meant to provide remote access to data, mobile app, and easy sharing. This implies that they have oriented their services for three main elements, i.e., online storage, anywhere accessibility from a number of devices, and easy sharing. You can visit the webpage of Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive to witness that they are just focusing on the above three features.

Online backup services (Backup Everything, IDrive, and Carbonite Safe) are meant to provide automated and continuous backup of your data in the cloud. Their services comprise backup-specific elements, such as unlimited online backups, top-notch security, automation, file syncing, and similar others. Most of such services install backup software in your computer, which automatically detects and transfers data to the cloud without disturbing you. So, unlike online storage services where mostly you have to manually store data in the cloud, online backup services conduct automated processes.

Why Online Storage Services cannot be used for Backups?

Online storage stores data in the cloud and online backup also stores data in the cloud, then why online storage services cannot be used for backups? This is a basic question that might be circling in your mind. It is true that both approaches provide cloud data storage, but online storage is not truly meant for backup. Here are the four main reasons that justify the claim:

  1. Cost

If you are opting for online storage services with the main purpose to have a copy of your files and folders online, then the per Gigabyte cost is going to be more compared to the unlimited storage space cost in the case of online backup services. The online storage services usually provide you with some free storage space, but you will have to pay them for additional storage.

On the other hand, online backup services provide unlimited backup space at a fraction of the cost. In addition, many online backup services also provide 30 days trial run of their services so that you can ensure that you are picked the right backup service.

  1. Limited Storage Space

It may sound strange, but with most online storage services, you will be getting limited storage space. For example, Dropbox provides 2TB of storage for $9.99/month. So, if you have large videos to store or want to keep file versions, then the restricted storage space isn’t going to help you much. In addition, some services also have other kinds of limits, such as file size and the data volume you can upload at specific times.

Not all but many online backup services provide unlimited storage space to store an unlimited number of backups. There is no such limitation of file size. They intelligently backups data from your computer to the cloud. This way, you never have to worry about cloud storage space and enjoy additional benefits of syncing servicesdeleted files temporary storage, etc.

  1. Security

With the growing concerns of cyber-attacks and data breaches, nobody wants their cloud-stored data to get compromised. Thereby, encryption is the key in present times. Online storage services are oriented for quick access and sharing, so the level of their data security isn’t the best. For example, the majority of such services encrypt data stored on their servers, but they don’t facilitate local encryption on the computer prior to syncing with the cloud.

On the other hand, cloud backup services provide a double-layer of security. They first encrypt your data with a private key (specific for your data) and then syncs that encrypted data to the cloud in their encrypted servers. This way it becomes mission impossible for hackers to get access to your data and decrypt it. The encryption keys are specific to each user, so no one other than the user can access the backed-up data.

  1. Ease of Use

There is no doubt that online backup services provide an easy-to-use and user-friendly interface with feature-rich services, but most of them lag in providing automated file syncing. You have to manually transfer files from local storage to the cloud and also assign the folders. As their main goal is to provide remote accessibility and sharing, so they are not much oriented towards automated transferring.

If your main goal is to back up your locally stored data, then you should opt for online backup services because their services are more oriented for this purpose. You will experience continuous and automated backups, where you don’t even have to tell the service about what data to be backed up. In addition, you get a quick and efficient data restoration service, while can also get a copy of your backed-up data on an external hard drive.

When to opt for Online Storage or Online Backup

The above points highlight that online storage services are not ideal for backup, the same is true in the opposite case. Online backup services are not meant for collaboration, so they don’t provide the high-level of PC and mobile devices accessibility as in the case of online storage services.

You should opt for online storage services if your main goal is to have centralized remote data storage with smooth sharing and collaborating support. But if you want to regularly secure your important files in an automated way to avoid losing them in any data calamity, then online backup services are the best choice.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Explained Easy

GDPR is a much-needed data protection law enrolled in the EU for the protection of personal data that businesses collect and process while doing business operations within EU member states or outside. GDPR gives more control to people over their personal data and an environment of safer interaction with online platforms. But it ensures hefty penalties for businesses who are found non-compliance with GDPR data protection principles. This blog provides an overview of GDPR and all the basic details that general people and businesses need to know.

What is the GDPR?

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an extensive set of regulations meant for the handling of EU consumers’ data. It was adopted by the European Parliament in April 2016 and replaced the Data Protection Directive (DPD) from 1995. The law enforcement enforced GDPR on 25 May 2018. Thereby, it gained the main headline of the data protection act 2018 that the general public desperately needed to ensure data privacy and protection.

GDPR is set up to have a unified and strong data protection laws across all the EU member states. It provides more control and rights to EU citizens and residents over how their data is handled, processed, and stored by organizations. The European data protection board has broadened the personal data definition in GDPR compared to what it was earlier in DPD.

Another point to note here is that as UK is no longer the part of EU, so it has set up its own UK GDPR, which means the EU GDPR no longer applies domestically in the UK.

Types of Personal Data Protected by GDPR

The main application of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the way it addresses personal data. As per the GDPR, personal data implies any type of data that could be used to identify the user. The growing use of the internet, digital tech developments, and social media have broadened the term personal data. So, the primary personal data protection by GDPR include:

  • General identity data including name, ID numbers, address, credit card numbers, emails, etc.
  • Biometric data.
  • Political opinions.
  • Racial or ethnic data.
  • Sexual orientation.

Types of Organizations that come under GDPR

In simple words, all those organizations running within or outside the EU that are processing personal data of EU citizens/residents are required to comply with the EU. So, if an organization is involved in the processing of personal data of EU residents no matter from which territory it is operating, it has to comply with GDPR.

There are wide industrial sectors that come under GDPR compliance requirements, but the most affected one is the technology sector. Next in line are online retailers, software firms, financial institutions, SaaS, and the list goes on.

Compliance Responsible within an Organization

There are different roles set up by GDPR who are responsible for compliance within an organization, as follow:

  • Data Controllers: They narrate the mechanism of personal data processing and why it is being processed. They also ensure that third-party contractors also comply with the measures.
  • Data Processers: They can be an internal group or an outsourced group responsible for processing and maintaining personal data records. In case of a breach, GPDR considers them liable for non-compliance.
  • Data Protection Officer: As per GDPR, the processors and controllers are required to set up a data protection officer that keeps an eagle eye on all data security measures and compliance with GDPR. Data protection officers are mandatory for organizations that deal with an immense amount of EU citizen data.

In short, all the organizations that come under GDPR compliance have to set up proper codes of practice with a well-established data protection board to ensure compliance and customers’ trust.

GDPR Penalties and Fines

Organizations dealing with the personal data of EU citizens and residents have no other choice than to comply with GDPR because the non-compliance can cause hefty fines with no rescue from public bodies. GDPR is developed to ensure public interest and set up a supervisory authority over public personal data, therefore no compromise is possible if an organization is found guilty of GDPR non-compliance. But not all violations of the GDPR will cause serious fines.

There are two tiers of maximum administrative fines that can be issued against non-compliance, as follow:

  1. Tier 1: €10 million or 2% of the organization’s annual turnover (whichever is higher). It is applicable if:
  • An organization fails to provide adequate security.
  • An organization fails to appoint a data protection officer.
  • An organization fails to establish the data processor agreement.
  1. Tier 2: €20 million or 4% of the organization’s annual turnover (whichever is higher). It is applicable if:
  • Infringement of privacy rights of individuals.
  • Breaching of core principles of processing.
  • Uncompliant transfer of data internationally.

The above hefty fines are not must-follow regulatory orders but depend on the specific case scenario. Before applying such fines, there can be a series of corrective measures. Such measures can be issued by information commissioner office, such as issuing warnings, issuing temporary/permanent ban on data processing, ordering data deletion, restriction, or rectification, blocking international data transfer, and similar other measures.

Organizations not only have to bear the administrative fines in case of non-compliance with GDPR, but the GDPR Article 82 gives the right to an individual who has faced any kind of damage (material/non-material) to get compensation against the damage. There are serious concerns associated with non-compliance with the GDPR, so organizations should never take any risk.

GDPR and the Future

With every passing year, more people are becoming concerned about the transparency of the organization regarding the user data they collect. Users are demanding more transparency and control of personal data that organizations can collect and use. In present times, experts consider data to be more valuable than oil. As GDPR is meant to safeguard data subject and regulate the data that organizations collect and process, so the future of organizations is linked with what level of intelligence services they deploy to ensure data transparency, privacy, and protection. 

Ransomware Protection – What, Why, and 5 Steps on How to do it?

Think of a situation that you logged in to your computer and discover that you no longer have access to any of the data. You just see one note on a screen demanding you to pay some hefty money to get back the data. Refusal to pay will result in complete data loss. No one likes to be in such a situation, but that’s what you call a ransomware attack. With every passing year, the scale of ransomware is growing at a rapid pace with more tactics and victims. Individuals, small businesses, large enterprises, and public

institutions, all are on the victim list. But if you ensure proper ransomware protection measures, then chances of getting victim reduces greatly. In this blog, we will shed light on ransomware and how to ensure ransomware threat protection.

How Does Ransomware Work?

There are multiple ways by which ransomware can infect a computer and/or mobile device, but the common approach is sending an email to the target. The email usually looks legitimate or presents some kind of attractive offer. When the person clicks the link given in the email, it takes the person to the website that inserts the ransomware on that PC Mac or mobile device in real time. Besides that, ransomware can also be inserted via links in documents macros, websites, or due to OS/browser security vulnerabilities.

Once the victim gets hit by a ransomware attack, it is mostly impossible to remove ransomware safely. All the data gets encrypted by ransomware, so there is minimal to no chance of getting back the data without pay the ransom. The victim can try decryption tools, but the encrypted file versions are not easy to decrypt.

Once the victim pays the amount, the data gets accessible again. But there are also chances that the attackers must have stolen sensitive data, such as account numbers, passwords, etc. In addition, they can install malware into the victim system to use it as a bot controller or similar other purposes.

Two Common Attack Approaches of Ransomware

To enter the victim system, ransomware attackers use multiple tactics based on their research about the victim. But there are two common attack approaches to make the entry, as follow:

  1. Phishing: The main goal of phishing attacks is to steal sensitive information, such as login credentials, credit card numbers, date of birth, address, social security numbers, etc. In simple words, it includes stealing any data that could make financial damage to the victim and could be used for illegal activities. To extract such information, phishing attacks are usually conducted via sending emails to make the victim click on the link.
  2. Software Vulnerabilities: It is common to have vulnerabilities in software, but if it is left unpatched, then it’s the entry point for ransomware. Individuals and organizations give less importance to regular security updates that are often meant to address vulnerabilities. Attackers take advantage of this negligence and use those vulnerabilities to penetrate systems.

In addition to the above type of ransomware, there are other entry points too, such as botnets, web injects, ads, remote desktop services, infected installers, and similar others.

5 Steps for ensuring Ransomware Protection

Now that you are aware of what ransomware is and possible entry approaches, it’s time to find out possible security solutions for ransomware protection. Often there is a perception that having anti ransomware tools are enough to prevent ransomware attacks, but security efforts need to be more advanced. Having anti malware or ransomware tools is a must, but the below 5 steps are also crucial for ensuring ransomware protection:

  1. Up-To-Date Systems

System vulnerabilities are one of the favourite gateways for attackers, which need to be addressed as quickly as possible. It requires keeping the system up-to-date with the latest updates and security patches. Usually, due to the large system scale of organizations, they prefer to test the released patches on few machines before implementing them on a full scale. But this process must be completed in a quick and efficient way because attackers are well aware of the vulnerabilities, so they are actively working to make an impact. In short, when the system is up-to-date, it prevents ransomware attackers to use software vulnerabilities as a route to enter the system.

  1. Secure Server and Email

Organizations must take all the possible measures they could to secure their server and email. Because reducing the number of incoming spams with the help of ransomware scanners or other approaches can greatly reduce the chances of malicious emails reaching the mailbox of employees.

  1. Avoid Public and Unsecure Connections

If employees use a public or unsecured connection to access business resources remotely, then it provides a simple route for attackers to install malicious files to the organization’s servers. Therefore, organizations must ensure that no PCs, iPhone, and Android devices ever get connected with public and unsecured connections. Even for remote access, employees must have a secure route via VPN, RDP, SSH, or FTP.

  1. Practice Data Backup

No matter the type of ransomware, data is always the prime target. If you haven’t done data backup, then you are at the mercy of attackers once the ransomware encrypts your data and demands a ransom. But if you have done data backup, you can stay assured that your data is secure. In present times, there are many easy ways for data backup, such as external hard drives, cloud backups, etc.

  1. Employees Training

Ransomware attacks are successful because of the negligence of victims in identifying possible threats. The chances of ransomware attacks can be decreased greatly if employees get continuous training with intuitive case studies. This will help them to identify possible threats, avoid the trap of vulnerable links, and remain more conscious.

Wrapping Up

No business is safe from ransomware attacks today and they never know what type of malware can attack them. But if organizations ensure rigid ransomware protection measures along with proper employees’ education, then the chances of getting victim reduces significantly. Therefore, ensuring ransomware protection should be a core part of cybersecurity measures in 2021. 

6 Trends to Watch for Cloud Backup in 2021

Many organizations are on the track of digital transformation and they are actively relying on the cloud for most of their processes. The fact that the cloud presents a prominent cost-reducing factor in IT spending is one of the major reasons behind its rapid growth. Among many benefits of the cloud, the majority of businesses are using online backup services to have a cloud backup and restore infrastructure instead of on-premises local backups.

If an organization sets up an effective cloud backup strategy and finds the right service provider, then cloud backup can become a very valuable aspect of its infrastructure. To further showcase the global demand for cloud backup, this blog presents six trends of cloud backup to watch in 2021.

6 Trends of Cloud Backup in 2021

Cloud backup provides flexibility, scalability, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness that organizations need in present times. Therefore, there is no second thought acknowledging the fact that cloud backup is the present and future of the data world. Since its popularity is growing every year, here are the six trends of cloud backup to watch in 2021:

1. Budget for Disaster Recovery

With every passing year, organizations are becoming more concerned about disaster recovery and allocating significant resources for it. The main reason behind more budget allocation is the growing importance of data. A single organization collects an unprecedented amount of data that include both sensitive and less important data. Besides that, the practice of data analytics and data-driven decisions has further triggered the importance of data. In such an environment, no organization wants to lose data due to accidental deletion, hardware/software malfunction, cyber-attack, or natural disaster. Therefore, disaster recovery measures are growing along with cloud backup services demand.

2. Multiple Backups

The present times demand more than just one backup measure to be able to restore data no matter the situation. This is getting witnessed in the business world as more and more organizations are opting for multiple backups. Therefore, organizations conducting multiple backups is a trend to watch in 2021. While picking backup services, organizations are also seen opting for less known vendors instead of large cloud vendors to further enhance their backup protection.

3. Multi-Cloud Environments

Just like the trend towards multiple backups, businesses are seen opting for multiple-cloud environments, such as private, on-premises, public, or hybrid. The increasingly growing trend of multi-cloud environments is mainly due to their disaster recovery benefits. With a multi-cloud environment, businesses are in a better position to deploy cloud resources effectively and have better data rescue and sync service.

4. Data Center Decline

Data centers are declining at a shocking rate. It is true considering the fact that why would startups and small businesses opt for data centers when they can use cloud services to meet their files and folders storage and backup demands. There are proven cases of SMEs where they are operating successfully by relying completely on cloud resources. This does not mean that data centers would disappear completely in the near future because they are still helpful in specific cases. In fact, large enterprises will opt for both data center and cloud backups to have multiple backups. But the decline in data centers is a noticeable trend in 2021.

5. Rise of Ransomware

A ransomware attack is a nightmare for businesses and it is just getting stronger every year. Millions of businesses get hit with ransomware every year and this number is not going to slow down anytime soon. Such high growth of ransomware attacks is related to the rapid digitalization and unsecure internet connection environment and local storage, such as local drives, external hard drives, etc.

There are multiple ways for ransomware to attack a victim’s computers or mobile devices. Besides that, the COVID-19 pandemic has already provided a gateway for attackers to make remote working employees easy victims. In short, 2021 will also experience some worse ransomware attacks. So, organizations that are opting for cloud backups also have to enhance their measures towards ransomware protection, especially during the initial backup stage.

6. More Feature-Rich and Encrypted Services

When businesses are eagerly opting for digital transformation and cloud computing, the number of cloud backup services is also increasing. Today, there are dozens of cloud backup service providers available in the market. This includes plenty of reputed names, such as Carbonite Safe, Backblaze, and Backup Everything, while there are also plenty of newcomers. Everyone is getting the attention of businesses because the demand for cloud backup is growing exponentially, but still, the competition among cloud services is increasing.

In such a competitive environment, you will witness that more feature-rich, advanced, and secure services taking lead. The services, such as intelligent file sync support, rapid uploads with no file size restriction, longer deleted files protection, more secure encryption key practice, user-friendly mobile app, and similar others are going to get better, advanced, and efficient with every year to come. Thereby, 2021 will experience many new features upgrade in existing cloud backup services, while newcomers will showcase some out-of-the-box features in the market.

Wrapping Up

The Cloud backup market is here to last decades and just going to get bigger with every passing year. The COVID-19 pandemic and the present digital transformation targets have showcased the importance of cloud platforms in the business world. With cloud backup, organizations feel more secure and enjoy top-notch benefits, such as unlimited number of backups, unlimited storage space, cost-effectiveness, file versionsfile sharing, and similar other services. In a nutshell, cloud backup is a trending data storage environment and its future is bright and more advanced.

Windows Backup Server – What, How, Benefits, & Limitations

 Windows Backup Server is a well-known backup tool that allows you to restore your data easily in case of any accidental loss of data. But is Windows Backup Server an effective tool for data backup and restoration?

Windows Backup Server is definitely an effective and reliable tool for data backup and restoration. It is one of the best options if we talk about free data backup tools. But it has its own limitations and gives better results when combined with other backup tools. Here we have compiled a detailed guide about what is Windows Backup Server and how to use it. We have also specified the benefits and limitations of this Windows Server. Read till the end to get all you need to know about Windows Backup Server.

Windows Backup Server – A Brief Overview

Windows Backup Server (WSB) is a free backup tool from Microsoft. It is an installable feature of Windows and provides you complete data backup on a given server. It helps in restoring all files and applications in case of any tragedy, like hard disk failure. You can get back all your data on an old system and can also install it on a new hard drive if needed.

How to Use Windows Backup Server?

Here is a step-by-step guide for performing Windows Backup Server based backups:

  1. First of all, install Windows Backup Server on your computer.
  2. Open the backup server and click “local backup“.
  3. Now click “backup once” from the action pane.
  4. Click “Different options” on the Backup Options page.
  5. After clicking next, you will land on the Backup Configuration page. Here, click the “custom” option.
  6. After clicking next, you will land on the Select Items for the Backup page. Here add volumes you want to be backed up by clicking on the “Add item”. Remember, you can only add volumes and not individual files and folders for backup through Windows Backup Server. All the operating system files and applications are included in the backup by default. So, you do not need to add them.
  7. You can also exclude files and folders from backup by using the “exclusion” tab in advanced settings.
  8. The next step is to “select VSS full backup” on the VSS setting tab.
  9. After clicking next, you will land on the Specify Destination Type page. Here you have to specify the location for storing your backup data. You can either choose the local drive or remote shared folder for storing your data.
  10. After clicking next, you will land on the Confirmation page. Click “backup” on the Confirmation page, and your data will start backing up on your selected destination.
  11. Now you will have a Backup Progress page in front of you. It will show you the backup status and progress. If you want to run backup in the background, just close the backup page. You will be notified by the server once the backup is done.

Verifying Backup

If you want to confirm that your data has successfully backed up, use any one of the following options:

  • Open the Windows Backup Server, and it will show the status “successful” if your data has backed up successfully.
  • You can also check logs in the Windows Backup Server to see when and where the backup is stored.
  • The “Event Viewer” app is another way of verifying backup. If you can find a backup completion event in the log, it means your backup is successfully completed.

Benefits of Windows Backup Server

Windows Backup Server is a convenient tool for having a data backup and then data restorationSome of its key benefits include:

  1. Windows Backup Server is free, and you do not have to pay anything for its backup operations.
  2. It is a reliable and authentic source for data storage and restoration.
  3. It offers a customized backup solution. You can conveniently select and exclude files from backup.
  4. Your backup data will be automatically updated with it.
  5. It is a secure offline data restoration and backup solution.
  6. It is a comprehensive and complete backup tool that includes all operating system files and applications while backing up data.
  7. Data restoration is quick and easy. It offers two data restoration options, i.e., on local drives and on the remote shared folder.

Limitations of Windows Backup Server

Windows Backup Server is one of the simple Windows server environments for backup needs, but it has some limitations, as listed below:

  1. Windows Backup Server has a limited storage capacity of 2T.
  2. It automatically deletes the older files to make space for new ones.
  3. It does not allow backup of individual files and folders. You can only add volumes for backup through this tool.
  4. It offers data storage on local drives and remote shared folders only. You cannot opt for backup on tapes.
  5. You can save only one copy of the backup. Though you can send backups to a network share, it is useless. All copies of backup are deleted automatically when a new backup is completed.

Wrapping Up

Windows Backup Server is a simple free tool for data backup and restoration. It is a reliable backup solution from Microsoft for backing up sensitive computer data, But, if you are looking for a more advanced level of backup with enhanced features, then Windows Backup Server isn’t the ideal choice. There is one better way to backup data, i.e., using cloud backup, because it not just facilitates data backup, but the accessibility freedom, remote data storage, file sharing possibility, and similar others are added benefits associated with it. So, you can pick Windows Backup Server if it meets your requirements, but you can opt for other methods for an enhanced backup experience.

Top 5 Best Server Cloud Backup Solutions in 2021

 Data backup is a common practice that businesses conduct due to their significant dependence on data. Out of different ways to backup data, cloud backup promises more data protection and accessibility. That’s why the trend towards cloud backup is on the rise and the number of online backup solution providers is also increasing. But do such services also provide server cloud backup? Just like normal computer data backup services, there are many services available today that provide server cloud backup solutions. In this blog, we will shed light on the five best server cloud backup services that you can pick from.

5 Best Server Cloud Backup Solutions

Out of many server cloud backup services, the following are our top five picks:

  1. Carbonite Server

Carbonite Server presents as a complete backup and recovery solution for servers including virtual, physical, and legacy systems. It provides flexible deployment, which means you can perform server backup on-site, cloud, or both as hybrid. It is designed to be easy to use and also enables users to manage and monitor all servers from one place. It also provides flexible custom retention policy for forever incremental backup.

Other than providing top-notch and user-friendly server backup and recovery services, Carbonite Server also provides top security where all the backup data is compressed and 256-bit encrypted both at rest and in motion. At a minimum, Carbonite Server makes two copies of the data, so it acts as a reliable disaster recovery medium. It supports Windows, Linux, IBM AIX, HP-UX, Solaris, IBM iSeries, Oracle, VMware, Hyper-V, Microsoft SQL, Oracle DB, Microsoft Exchange, and Microsoft SharePoint.

  1. IDrive Server Cloud Backup

IDrive is another comprehensive cloud backup solution for your servers and databases. You can back up all of your databases present in your data center and even set up a schedule period to perform backups automatically once the initial backup is completed. It provides AES 256-bit encryption with an optional encryption key to have enhanced data protection.

IDrive supports backing up MS SQL Server, MS Exchange Server, Hyper-V, VMware Server, System State, Oracle Server, SharePoint Server, Office 365 Mailbox, and Linux Server. In addition, it presents an ideal crashplan for small business sector with its file-level or sector-level backup of the whole computer and then same format recovery. It also provides 24/7 customer support via email, call, and chat. Besides that, it also facilities businesses to meet GLBA, SOX, HIPAA, and SEC/FINRA compliance. In short, IDrive presents as one comprehensive tool for meeting server backup needs with feature-rich functionalities under reduced cost and high scalability.

  1. Backblaze Business Server Backup

Backblaze provides a data safe, convenient, and low-cost solution for cloud server backup. It is quite easy and quick to set up Backblaze with the flexibility to pick the integration that fits best with your infrastructure. Just like big tech names, like Google, Azure, and others, the backup data in Backblaze is always available for instant download. In addition, the web-based admin console is designed to address multiple servers from one platform. The backup process is also made advanced with flexible scheduling, data compression, encryption, and protection from ransomware.

Backblaze cloud storage plan is based on how much space you need. You can easily increase or decrease your storage size according to your needs. Besides that, B2 Fireball is the added toolkit by Backblaze that helps to perform large data transfers without having any impact on the network.

 Backup Everything Cloud Protect365

Backup Everything is a UK-based cloud backup and disaster recovery solution provider recommended by PC PRO. Backup Everything is going to launch Cloud Protect365 in May 2021 that is meant to advance the science and technology behind cloud data protection. Cloud Protect365 will facilitate businesses in performing server and computer backup, along with setting up schedules for automated backups. It will provide AES 256-bit encryption and also let users archive non-critical data.

Backup Everything focuses on convenience with leading-edge technology; therefore, all of the services are meant to be as convenient as possible. The Cloud Protect365 will provide a web portal for central control of all backups. In addition, it will also provide file sharing and syncing services. It will support backing up MS SQL, VMware, Hyper-V, files and folders, Microsoft 365, MySQL, NAS, MS Exchange, OracleDB, MongoDB, and many more. Besides all the top-notch services, Backup Everything provides 24/7 customer support.

  1. Acronis Cyber Backup

Acronis Cyber Backup presents as an easy-to-use and reliable cloud backup solution for Microsoft Windows Server, including Foundation, Essentials, Small Business Server editions. With Acronis, it just takes 3 clicks to perform the backup, while it just takes 15 seconds to recover. It provides top-notch business protection with thorough disk-imaging backup, including the operating systems, settings, files and folders, applications, and all other data. Other than providing cloud backup, it also facilitates performing backups in other locations, such as SAN, NAS, local disks, etc.

Acronis supports backing up physical machines (Windows Server, Linux, Windows, and Mac), virtual machines (VMware vSphere, Oracle VM Server, Microsoft Hyper-V, Linux KVM, and more), applications (SQL Server, Oracle, SharePoint, SAP HANA, and more), mobile devices backup, and plenty others. Acronis has more than 500,000 businesses trusting the platform. Besides top-notch backup features, it also has one of the best recovery supports, including the instant recovery of physical machines, cloud-based disaster recovery, and more. You can try the platform for a 30 days trial period before doing any purchase.

Wrapping Up

In the rising cyber issues and vulnerabilities of data loss, cloud based server backup presents as a reliable and secure way to protect server data. The above-mentioned server cloud backup solutions present some of the best market options to perform server backups. But which one to pick among them depends on your backup needs. To properly evaluate those services, try out their trial period, and then make the decision accordingly.